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Carbonates more than just water
Compatible with any brand’s carbonation cartridges
Doesn’t include a full-size carbonator with the package
DrinkMate may not be a household name yet, but their soda makers are quite popular among users. One benefit is that this can be used to carbonate any liquid, so you can make fizzy orange juice in the morning or a carbonated Margarita in the evening, which is a big differentiator from other soda makers: "It made hosting gatherings a little more fun and impressive by offering custom fizzy cocktails," our reviewer says. The small footprint of this one takes barely more space than the drink bottle and the carbonating canister, so it’s great for small kitchens, RVs, dorm rooms, or anywhere space is limited. Since it requires no electricity, you don’t need to worry about plugging it in, so you can even keep it on the table. The included bottle has a clearly marked fill line and you can choose to add more or less carbonation for the perfect fizz. Two buttons let you easily control the release of excess carbonation when it’s time to release it. This includes a small 3-ounce carbonation cylinder to get you started. It can accept standard 60-liter carbonation cylinders from similar brands, as well as the DrinkMate branded cylinders. This is available in black, white, or red, to match your style.
"It’s slightly cheaper than other appliances but it does more than most by carbonating beverages beyond water." — Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
Easy to use
When you’ve got a high-end kitchen, you want your countertop appliances to look just as nice, like this very stylish carbonator. The housing is made from stainless steel and has a copper finish for an elegant look. Designed in Sweden, it has a front lever that carbonates the water, then releases the excess carbonation for you so your water is ready to go in a flash. And many reviewers are happy with how short the learning curve was. It includes one carbonating bottle with a sturdy stainless steel cap. This is compatible with standard 60-liter carbonation canisters that are available in many stores and online, but it does not come with a canister. If copper isn’t your style, this is also available in waffle white, matte black, or stainless steel.
Easy to assemble and use
Releasing fizz infuser can be tricky
A more portable version from DrinkMate, this hand-held carbonator does the same job, but without the stand. While it can accept a large carbonation canister, it’s much more portable with a mini canister, so you can keep this in a drawer at home or at work, or toss it into a backpack to take it anywhere. This uses the same bottles as the countertop DrinkMate unit, so you can give one a permanent home while you have a second one that travels with you. Not only can you carbonate water, but you can use this to carbonate any other liquid, so you can have fizzy green juice for breakfast, fizzy iced tea or lemonade with lunch, then make fizzy wine in the evening, just for fun. Plus, many reviewers are happy with how quickly it carbonated their drinks. This comes in black, pewter, or red, so you can choose the one you like best.
No batteries needed
Must order carbon cartridges separately
The traditional soda siphon, this carbonates the water in the canister, then “shoots” it into your glass. While shooting it doesn’t make the carbonation better, it does give a more impressive performance when you’re making fancy cocktails at parties. A measuring tube makes it easy to add the correct amount of water so you don’t overfill, and a pressure control valve avoids over-pressurizing the unit. This uses small CO2 chargers, and it uses one charge per bottle of water. It holds one quart. Our tester notes that the CO2 cartridges must be ordered separately and that they're one-time-use only.
"I can see it being useful to a mixologist or to those that only need a soda maker on occasion because of its convenient portability." — Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
Three carbonation levels
Directions are a bit unclear
Designed with a sleek look and powered by electricity, this carbonator works at the touch of a button, a feature many reviewers rave about because it makes the soda maker one of the easiest to use. Just choose the button you want for the level of fizz you desire, and the machine adds the proper amount of carbonation. This includes a full 60 liter CO2 cylinder, so you don’t need to buy anything extra to start carbonating, while the included bottle holds one liter of fizzy water. The bottle has an attractive metal trim that makes it look a bit more upscale. If you need extra bottles, this is compatible with other SodaStream bottles that are available separately, with a choice of different trim colors. While its electrical needs are small, you will need to have a place to plug this in when you use it. This is available in white or black, and also in a bundle that includes three bottles, two 60 liter CO canisters, and two flavored fruit drops to add to your water.
Our top pick is the sleek Drinkmate 410-02-3z Beverage Carbonation Maker because it can carbonate any liquid and is compatible with other brands' cartridges (see it on Bed Bath & Beyond). Plus, it's affordable. But if you're in the mood to splurge for your high-end kitchen, go for the Aarke Premium Carbonator. Not only is it elegantly design with a copper finish, but it's very simple to use (check it out on Williams-Sonoma).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, writer, and product tester for The Spruce Eats. In addition to reviewing more than 90 products for the brand, Donna has also written numerous roundups on all manner of small appliances, including the best blenders, snow cone makers, and pasta makers of 2020.
What to Look for in a Soda Maker
Versatility: 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. If you’re typically making plain carbonated water, you probably don't need a model that’s able to carbonate your iced tea.
Size of CO2 tanks: Soda makers can use small (usually 8-gram) CO2 cartridges, medium-sized 3-ounce tanks, or small cylinders (14 ½ ounces, usually described as 60 liters) of CO2 to carbonate the liquid. Some models are restricted to one size, while others can use multiple sizes or even be converted to use the large refillable tanks intended for beer brewing. If you’re planning on making soda regularly, a larger tank is likely a better bet.
Size: While some countertop machines are the size of small coffee makers, others are much more portable. Countertop units are usually able to accommodate larger CO tanks — so you won’t need to replace them as often — while portable models are great for tucking into a picnic basket or taking to a potluck or party.