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Whether you call it seltzer, soda, sparkling, or fizzy water, carbonated H2O is trending and for good reason: those bubbles transform plain old water into a more fun and versatile beverage. Carbonated water can be enjoyed plain or flavored, used as a healthier replacement for sweetened colas, or added to cocktails.
If you're hooked on bubbly water, investing in a DIY soda maker could help you kick the store-bought habit. Besides saving you money in the long-run, a soda maker puts you in control of the ingredients in your drinks and is an environmentally friendly choice since it means fewer store-bought bottles and cans going in the trash.
Soda makers create sparkling water in seconds by injecting CO2-that's carbon dioxide-into plain water from a replaceable cartridge. Some soda makers can even be used to add fizz to other beverages like juices and teas.
Here are the best soda makers.
Best Overall: Drinkmate Home Carbonation System
Carbonates any beverage–not just water
Compatible with any brand’s carbonation cartridges
No batteries or electricity needed
Doesn’t include a full-size carbonator
One of the biggest draws of this soda maker is that it can be used to carbonate any liquid. You can make fizzy orange juice in the morning, a sparkling spot of tea in the afternoon, and carbonated cocktails for happy hour. That's a big differentiator from other soda makers that are designed to only work with water.
It's got a small footprint so it’s a great option for small kitchens, RVs, dorm rooms, or anywhere space is limited. It doesn't require electricity (or batteries for that matter) so you can even keep it on the kitchen table and make fresh fizzy drinks whenever you sit down to enjoy a meal.
The included bottle has a clearly marked fill line plus low and high foam levels so you can easily eyeball if you need more or less carbonation for just the right amount of fizz to suit your tastes.
It's available in black, white, or red and comes with a 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. To help keep things cost effective, the manufacturer has a trade-in program where you'll score discounted CO2 cylinders when you send back your empties.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 1 liter | Carbonator Included: Yes | Dimensions: 11 x 5 x 17 inches
"It made hosting gatherings a little more fun and impressive by offering custom fizzy cocktails."— Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
Best Design: SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker
Consistent level of effervescence
Snap-lock for easy loading
Includes full-size CO2 cartridge
Needs to be plugged in
No drip tray
This sleek soda maker is praised by reviewers for being fast, straight forward, and easy to use. With the touch of a button, you can select from three levels of carbonation (low, medium, and high) and the machine will automatically add just the right amount of bubbles to your water.
This soda maker is powered by electricity and, although its electrical needs are small, you will need access to an electrical outlet to use it. You'll get a full 60-liter CO2 cylinder with the soda maker so you won't need to buy anything extra to get started.
The included bottle features metal trim that makes it look a bit more upscale and can hold up to one liter of fizzy water. Extra bottles are available for separate purchase from the manufacturer so you can make multiple flavors or let each family member have their own fizz drink.
Carbonating anything besides water will void the warranty, but you can add flavor drops or homemade flavored syrups after you've added carbonation.
Power Source: Electric | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 34 fluid ounces | Carbonator Included: Yes | Dimensions: 5 x 7.25 x 17 inches
"The Fizzi One Touch is extremely effective at carbonating the water. I tried out the various settings and really loved how bubbly the water was on the higher settings."—Julie Hershman, Product Tester
Cold, filtered water will give you the best results with a sparkling water maker. Cold water carbonates better than room temperature water. It's best to skip the tap, though, since carbonation can amplifies any impurities, making water taste more metallic, acidic, or bitter.
Best Glass Bottle: SodaStream Aqua Fizz Sparkling Water Maker
Water bottles are made from glass
Two water bottles are included
No electricity or batteries required
Bigger than other models
No settings to control fizz levels
If you prefer to store and serve your sparkling water out of glass bottles, you'll appreciate that the SodaStream Aqua Fizz Sparkling Water Maker comes with not one but two glass carafes. The bottles hold 22-ounces each and have a ribbed design that's good-looking enough to serve tableside at your next dinner party.
Like the other SodaStream models on this list, the Aqua Fizz uses a standard 60-liter carbon dioxide cylinder that screws into place and can only be used to add bubbles to water.
This model doesn't require electricity or batteries, so you can use it anywhere. There's a single button on top of the machine to manually add carbonation. You'll have to experiment with how many pushes of the button add enough bubbles for your taste.
Note that this soda maker is on the bulky side and measures over 17-inches tall, but requires even more height clearance when you open the unit to insert a glass bottle. You'll want to measure where you plan to store it to make sure you have enough clearance.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: Glass | Bottle Capacity: 20 fluid ounces | Carbonator Included: Yes | Dimensions: 6.25 x 10.5 x 17.25 inches
Best Splurge: Aarke Carbonator
Sleek, stylish design
Many finish options
Tedious cartridge loading
CO2 not included
Only plastic bottles available
When you’ve got a high-end kitchen, you want your countertop appliances to look just as nice and this Swedish-designed carbonator is sure to stand out. The housing is made from stainless steel and has a copper finish for an elegant look. If copper isn’t your style, it's also available in white, matte black, black chrome, brass, or stainless steel.
Don't let the luxe design intimidate you, though. This soda maker is simple to use. All you need to do is press down on the single lever to carbonate your bottle of water. The lever also releases the excess carbonation for you so you won't end up with a mess.
This soda maker includes one carbonating bottle with a sturdy stainless steel cap and is compatible with standard 60-liter carbonation canisters that are available in many stores and online. Just be aware this model does not include a canister so you'll need to pick one up separately to get started.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 33 fluid ounces | Carbonator Included: No | Dimensions: 6 x 10 x 16.25 inches
Best Budget: SodaStream Fizzi Classic
Easy to use
Lacks fizz levels
Learning curve to get preferred carbonation levels
This carbonator is a great choice if you'd like to save a few dollars compared to the other SodaStream model on this list. Unlike the Fizzi One Touch, the Fizzi Classic doesn't require any electricity to operate so you'll have more flexibility in where you use it.
The carbonation process isn't automated and there are no levels of fizz to choose from. Instead, you'll use a single button to manually add carbonation from a 60-liter CO2 cylinder till the water has your preferred level of bubbles.
Reviewers note there's a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how much CO2 to add, but once you know how many presses of the button makes water that meets your taste, it's simple to use. It's available in several color choices, including white, black, navy, and icy blue.
Like other SodaStream models, the Fizzi can only be used to carbonate water for seltzer or else you'll void the warranty. If you want to add flavor, you can use the brand's flavoring drops or add your own syrups or fresh fruit after carbonating.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 1 liter | Carbonator Included: Yes | Dimensions: 17.25 x 7.75 x 7.75 inches
Best Traditional Soda Siphon: iSi Soda Siphon
No batteries or electricity needed
Must order carbon cartridges separately
Multi-step process is more time consuming
If you're looking for a soda maker that can be stashed on your bar cart, a traditional soda siphon, like the ones used by professional bartenders, is your best choice.
The canister carbonates the water and then “shoots” it into your glass. While this method doesn’t make the carbonation any better than other soda makers, it feels and looks more impressive and ups the wow factor if you’re making fancy cocktails at parties.
The bottle can hold one quart of water and a measuring tube helps you add just the right amount of liquid so you don’t overfill it. There's also a pressure control valve that prevents over-pressurizing the unit. This uses small CO2 chargers, but they're one-time-use only so you'll need to keep plenty on hand.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: Stainless steel | Bottle Capacity: 1 quart | Carbonator Included: No | Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 12.25 inches
"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
Best Innovation: Spärkel Beverage System
No CO2 cylinders to replace
Five carbonation levels
Can carbonate more than water
Two water chambers to fill and empty
Bottle lever tricky to lock into place
Takes longer to carbonate than other models
If you haven't pulled the trigger on bringing a soda maker into your home because you don't want to deal with canisters of carbon dioxide—keeping a few extra on hand, returning the empties by mail or to an authorized retailer to recycle and replace—the Spärkel Beverage System might be the perfect soda maker for you.
The system can be used to carbonate water, tea, juice, and cocktails (a huge selling point over water-only models) but it uses a different method of delivering CO2 to your drinks. You can even add fresh fruit and herbs directly to the bottle and the pressure created by the CO2 will instantly extract flavor from them.
Instead of a standard CO2 cylinder, the Spärkel comes with individual packets of powdered carbonators, called A+B packs. The "A" packet contains citric acid and the "B" sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Each packet contains the perfect amount to generate just enough CO2 to add fizz to one bottle.
The carbonator goes into a chamber in the top of the machine and tap water is added to a tank on the back of the machine. They mix together in a sealed chamber, creating CO2, inside the machine. None of the powder or tap water ends up in your drink—just the CO2 gas they make. Any leftover carbonator ends up in another chamber that needs to be emptied after each use.
There are five carbonation levels to choose from, the machine lights up the bottle as it carbonates, and there's a pleasant melody to let you know when it's done. The Spärkel comes with a 25.4-ounce bottle, 10 carbonators to get started, and is available in several colors. Additional carbonators are available in counts of 30. You can also purchase additional bottles.
Power Source: Electric | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 25.4 fluid ounces | Carbonator Included: Yes, 10 individual packets | Dimensions: 14.75 x 5.75 x 12 inches
"Since receiving a complimentary Spärkel Beverage System from the manufacturer to try, creating new sparkling water flavors has become a daily event in my kitchen. I love being able to add fruit directly to the water bottle for all-natural flavor and the process is fun to watch." —Sharon Lehman, Small Appliance Expert for The Spruce Eats
Our top pick is the sleek Drinkmate Beverage Carbonation Maker because it can carbonate any liquid and operation doesn't require any electricity or batteries. Plus, it's compatible with other brands' CO2 cartridges and it's affordable. If you don't like the idea of storing and swapping carbon dioxide cylinders, check out the Spärkel Beverage System (view at Amazon). It runs on electricity and is powered by powdered carbonator packets with five levels of carbonation to choose from.
What to Look for in a Soda Maker
Many soda makers, including the popular SodaStream models, are designed for carbonating only water. Flavor in the form of fresh fruit, herbs, or flavoring drops can be added to the water after the carbonation process.
Other soda makers can be used to carbonate any liquid you like, including juice, tea, cocktails, and wine. You can also use these machines to add bubbles back to drinks that have gone flat.
If you just want carbonated water, you probably don't need a model that’s able to carbonate your iced tea. If you entertain or like trying new recipes, the added versatility may be worth it.
Most soda makers on the market use a carbon dioxide (CO2) cylinder to carbonate your water and beverages.
Before buying, check to see if your model includes a CO2 cylinder to get started. Not all do, so you may need to purchase one separately.
Alternatively, you may find soda makers bundled into starter kits that include a couple CO2 cylinders and/or additional bottles. If you plan to carbonate a lot of liquids or have a large household where everyone enjoys fizzy drinks, a bundled starter kit might make sense.
Most soda maker water bottles or carafes are made from plastic. We recommend checking to see if the plastic is BPA-free to make sure it's free from potential toxins that can contaminate your drinks.
If you'd like to avoid plastic, look for a soda maker that comes with a glass bottle. Just be aware that models with glass bottles tend to cost more than their plastic counterparts..
Most manufacturers offer additional bottles, whether plastic or glass, so you can make sure you always have a clean bottle ready to go.
Countertop units are usually able to accommodate larger CO tanks — so you won’t need to replace them as often — while smaller models, like a classic soda siphon, are perfectly sized for stashing on a small bar cart or tucking into a picnic basket or taking to a party.
You'll find both electric and manual countertop soda makers. Manual models are more portable and can be used anywhere without worrying about having access to an electrical outlet.
The electric models on this list have settings for various fizz levels and the carbonation process is hands free, while manual models require you to press a button to achieve your preferred amount of carbonation.
How long does a CO2 cylinder last?
The exact length of time a cylinder will last depends on how often you use it.
Most of the soda makers on this list work with a 60-liter CO2 cylinder, which has enough gas to carbonate 60-liters. If you carbonate a liter of water each day, your cylinder should last about 60 days or two months.
How do you know when your cylinder is out of gas?
You'll know it's time to replace your CO2 cylinder when you notice the gas going into your water seems to be less powerful than usual or splutters.
If the carbonation button(s) on your soda maker don't work, seem less forceful, or make an unusual noise, it's probably because the cylinder is running low.
What do you do with empty CO2 cylinders?
Cylinders should not be thrown away and are not accepted by residential recycling programs.
Most soda maker companies offer a cylinder exchange program. Cylinders can be returned to some retailers who sell soda makers for recycling or mailed back directly to the company.
SodaStream offers discounted refill cylinders as part of their mail-in exchange program. Drinkmate offers cash rebates for cylinders returned to them that can be used to purchase more cylinders. The details for these exchange programs can be found on the companies' websites.
Can you recarbonate flat drinks with a soda maker?
Yes, if your soda maker is designed to carbonate liquids other than water, then it can also be used to add bubbles back into flat soda or beer.
Not all soda makers are designed to carbonate beverages other than water, though, so be sure to check your product manual first.
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.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier and specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.