Updated 9 March 2022
Do you drink a lot of carbonated water at home? If so, it might be a good idea to start carbonating that water yourself, instead of carrying heavy bottles from the supermarket. We tested 7 soda machines and selected one model as the test winner.
The tests we carry out are independent and consist only of our own honest feedback on the products. Manufacturers, retailers and other third parties can’t influence the products used or the scores we give. The products have been used as they are intended to be used in reality. In our test of soda machines, the machines are used in everyday life in ordinary households. The models are then evaluated by the test families.
The following criteria were used as the basis for our assessment:
The results from these criteria are then given an overall score after being weighed against the machine’s price – then the models are ranked and we designate a test winner.
Soda machine that’s a good price, can be used with one hand and also looks good on the kitchen worktop
Price class: Intermediate Energy source: Manual Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
SodaStream’s Spirit model has a sleek and convenient design that doesn't take up unnecessary space. It comes in several colours to make it easy to find a machine that fits into your kitchen, whatever your decorative style, and because it’s manually operated it is very easy to position. The Spirit bottle design feels a little more upmarket than many of the other SodaStream models, and you can also buy bottles that are dishwasher safe.
The SodaStream Spirit is very easy to use by simply opening the rear hatch and screwing the carbon dioxide cartridge into the bracket. Then you just close the hatch and start carbonating! One bottle is included with the machine and can be easily attached even with a one-handed grip, as it automatically fits into place. There is no indicator for the amount of carbon dioxide; instead this controlled manually by pressing buttons a different number of times. The recommendation is three presses for two seconds for normal bubbles and five times for two seconds for a much fizzier drink.
At first, it might feel odd to stand and count the number of times you press a button, but you soon learn how many presses suit your own taste. You get lots of small bubbles and the water is pleasant to drink.
We like the fact the SodaStream Spirit is easy to use with its one-handed grip, easy to position and has a stylish design at a great price. All of that, plus the great results in terms of fizz mean that we name Spirit as the best in test SodaStream.
Soda machine with electric drive ideal for people who consume large quantities of fizzy water
Price class: Premium Energy source: Electric Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
With the SodaStream Power you get an electric-powered soda machine that includes a carbon dioxide cartridge and one bottle. The long cable makes this model easy to place yet is well hidden on the back so it gives a tidier appearance on your kitchen worktop.
You might wonder why an electric SodaStream, which needs access to power and also takes up more space, is a better choice than a cheaper model that delivers the same end product. In fact, the SodaStream Power will quickly become a favourite you won’t want to lose after you've used it for a little while. The convenient one-hand insertion and removal of the bottle is impressive, and thanks to the buttons positioned on the front of the machine you can see and reach them easily even if the machine is placed under a cabinet. There are three levels of carbon dioxide available, and the automated dosage means that the carbon dioxide cylinder lasts longer than with a manual model, where you might press a little more than necessary.
This is an expensive machine, but it's also great value for money. The only negative thing is that you often get fooled waiting for the carbon dioxide dosing to be completed. Before the final puff, there’s a pause just long enough that you think the process is finished and so you get ready to remove the bottle – and then the last puff of carbon dioxide comes. The Power model is slightly larger than other model of SodaStream but still looks really nice, and its stylish design means it can stand on the worktop without looking out of place. There are also several colours to choose from. The price tag is high for this brand, but the quick and easy operation along with the economical dosage of carbon dioxide makes it absolutely worth its price.
Exclusive electric soda machine that lasts a long time and can be used with one hand
Price class: Premium Energy source: Electricity Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
Having yet another kitchen machine that requires plugging in may not feel optimal, but the fact is that the Spirit One Touch gives such a good result that you’ll find it difficult to do without once you’ve tried this model.
The compact size of the SodaStream Spirit One Touch means this machine fits easily under a kitchen cabinet, making it easy to place in your kitchen. Assembly is quick, the design is stylish and the model looks compact. The one-litre bottle included is easily clicked into the machine with one hand, and then you select the amount of carbon dioxide you want via three buttons on top. You can also buy dishwasher-safe bottles for this one, which can be useful if you’re going to carbonate a lot of water.
Since the carbonation is automatic, exactly the right amount of carbon dioxide is used for each batch, which helps the cartridge last for a long time. Not only does this give you a perfect amount of bubbles in your water, but on manual machines, it’s easy to press the buttons too often and waste the carbon dioxide. Even if the price of this machine is a little higher than for similar models, it’ll probably pay off in the long run as you’ll change the carbon dioxide cylinder less often. Pretty much anyone who’s a fan of carbonated water will find that the SodaStream Spirit One Touch is a really good buy.
SodaStream Spirit One Touch Electric Sparkling Water Maker
SodaStream Spirit One Touch Electric Sparkling Water Maker Machine with 1 Litre Reusable BPA Free Water Bottle for Carbonating and 60 L CO2 Gas Cylinder - Black
SodaStream Spirit One Touch Sparkling Water Machine
Manual, easy-to-use soda machine for the design enthusiast
Price class: Premium Power source: Manual Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
Aarke is an obvious brand for those who like design and don’t mind spending a little extra on a truly stylish machine. You can choose from a variety of colours and finishes to suit most kitchens. And the cordless operation makes it easy to place.
The water is carbonated by pulling a lever down until a valve opens and you hear a hissing sound. If you want more carbon dioxide, you pull a couple of times more. There’s no indicator showing how much carbon dioxide you have added, but you quickly learn how long to pull for the required amount. It actually feels quite nice to pull the lever, a bit like having a beer tap at home – but for carbonated water.
The bottle is secured by screwing it into the top of the machine. This takes quite a few turns and you need to use two hands, which feels a bit fiddly when so many other machines have quick-attachment systems. Unfortunately, it’s also too easy to screw the bottle in on an angle, which is only noticeable once you’ve got halfway and then have to undo the bottle to start again. It isn't a huge problem, but it is something of a nuisance. Replacing the cartridge is very easy and is done from underneath by laying the machine down, without having to remove any parts.
While many soda machines feel plasticky, this is a robust machine you'll want to show off. It’s unexpectedly sleek and doesn't look at all bulky on the kitchen counter. It fits easily under a kitchen cabinet and doesn't require a power outlet.
This is a handsome piece that gives a really high quality impression. However, the bottle feels unexpectedly basic and can’t be distinguished from other factory PET bottles. That’s not a major problem, but it was a comment made by one of our test families. For example, other brands have glass bottles, which might have been a better fit for Aarke's potential target audience. When the bottle is filled up to the recommended level, it has a capacity of 800 ml. We’d have preferred it to contain at least one litre of water per carbonation, to save running between table and kitchen.
If this had only been a beauty contest, Aarke would have been the winner, but at this high price we also expect all the functions. Apart from the way you attach the bottle, it’s a great manual machine where you pay a good bit extra for the stylish design.
Stylish soda machine that makes good fizzy water
Price class: Budget Energy source: Manual Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
The SodaStream Genesis soda machine is a stylish kitchen appliance that can be placed on the counter thanks to its easy-to-position size and simple design.
Assembling the SodaStream Genesis for initial use is no problem. You simply attach the carbon dioxide cylinder to the back and get started. The standard bottle supplied works well and if you want bottles that are dishwasher-safe, you can buy them separately. The bottle neck is screwed into the top bracket which can be a bit fiddly as you have to make sure the threads are correctly engaged. Even if you haven’t filled the bottle over the fill line, it can sometimes spit out water when it’s being carbonated.
At the top of the machine is a wide push button that you press down repeatedly until you’re satisfied with the amount of carbon dioxide. You quickly learn the number of presses you require. Making carbonated water at home isn’t complicated, but when the details around the process seem awkward, it also makes the experience a bit less enjoyable. With the SodaStream Genesis you get an attractive machine for your kitchen, but the actual operation, which requires a two-handed grip to thread the bottle, feels a bit old-fashioned.
High quality stainless steel soda machine that includes stylish glass bottles
Price class: Premium Energy source: Manual Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
You can tell from the model name that the SodaStream Crystal is one of the more exclusive models in SodaStream's range. The Crystal is an expensive stainless model that comes with its own stylish glass bottles.
The bottle supplied is made of glass and contains 600 ml of water. It looks great and works well enough at the dinner table to serve straight out of the bottle. Cleaning is easy and because glass stays attractive over time the bottle won’t become grubby looking as some plastic bottles tend to do after a while. The downside is that glass isn't as durable, the bottles are also a bit heavier than the plastic versions and can break if dropped. Nor do the glass bottles hold as much as SodaStream's standard bottles. The Crystal bottles are also only compatible with that machine – you can't use any others.
The carbonated water really is perfect, with lots of lively small bubbles. Operation is simple and the machine can easily be operated with just one hand by placing the bottle in a container which is then rotated to the closed position. The disadvantage is that the entire top of this container needs to be lifted up to position the bottle, which means the soda machine also needs 12 cm of free space above it for operation. This makes it unable to stand under many kitchen cabinets and so more difficult to place. Although the water is perfect, this model can’t really make up for the hefty price tag and unfortunately our score reflects this.
Easy-to-use soda machine that makes plenty of bubbles for a great price
Price class: Budget Energy source: Manual Includes CO2 cartridge: Yes
The SodaStream Jet has a classic plasticky 80s feel in terms of design, and if you think back to earlier generations of soda machines, you won't be far off. It’s rather bulky, yet still fits easily on the kitchen worktop under a cabinet.
Assembly consists of simply installing the carbon dioxide cartridge inside the back cover. If you have big hands, you may find it a bit awkward to get the cartridge in place, although the procedure itself isn't complicated, just a little tricky given the lack of space. One cartridge is included with the purchase, along with a standard plastic bottle. If you want more bottles or dishwasher-safe bottles, you’ll need to buy them separately.
If you buy one of the newer models of SodaStream, you’ll see that it has almost become standard to use just one hand to insert the bottle. With the SodaStream Jet, it takes both hands and a little effort to screw the neck of the bottle into the attachment before you can press the carbon dioxide button. Once this is done, the button on the top of the machine is used to inject the correct amount of carbon dioxide. The water is good and has quite large bubbles. Given the low price and the decent result you get, the SodaStream Jet is still a good value soda machine if you aren’t looking for any other refinements.
In our test, the SodaStream Spirit was named the test winner. Features our testers appreciated were the single handed operation, good bubbles, attractive design and a nice convenient size.
A soda machine allows you to turn normal tap water into carbonated water by forcing carbon dioxide gas into it. Instead of buying carbonated water in the shop, you can get plenty of the stuff at home in the kitchen in no time. To carbonate water at home you need a soda machine with a bottle and a carbon dioxide cartridge/cylinder. These are almost always sold together as a kit.
Most work on the same basic principle. The machine is charged with a carbon dioxide cylinder, which in most cases is placed in a door on the back of the machine by simply screwing it into a nozzle. A bottle of water is attached to the front and then the desired amount of carbon dioxide is selected by pressing a button, either to add a preset amount, or by pressing the button for a given number of seconds.
More presses produce more bubbles, but the exact number required varies and is often indicated on the machine. Many soda machines are automatic and do the dosage themselves.
It will be obvious when the cartridge is running low, as it will take a lot more presses to get the water well carbonated, and the machine won't sound the same. You can take the cartridge to most supermarkets and replace it with a new one for a small charge, instead of buying a brand new one.
If you have childhood memories of the sugary soft drinks produced by soda machines, you don't need to worry. Today, there are several good flavours you can add, and with the right amount you should get them to taste just like the original brand soft drink. Well-known brands of soft drinks produce flavourings for soda machines.
First you add the bubbles to the water as usual. Then add the flavour, to the quantity indicated on the bottle, screw on the cap and carefully turn the bottle upside down a few times to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed. If you want a stronger or weaker taste, vary the amount of additive you put in.
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