We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Carbonated water can be enjoyed plain or flavored and used as a cheaper, healthier, more environmentally friendly replacement for sodas.
Our top choice after extensive Lab testing is the Drinkmate Home Carbonation System; it's compact, doesn't require electricity or batteries, and can carbonate any liquid (not just water). For an even more eco-friendly option made of biocomposite instead of plastic, the Mysoda Woody Sparkling Water Maker is a fantastic choice.
If you're hooked on soft drinks or seltzers, 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 eco-friendly choice that eliminates the need for bottles and cans.
Soda makers create sparkling water in seconds by injecting carbon dioxide into plain water from a replaceable cartridge. Some soda makers can even be used to add fizz to other beverages like fresh juices and teas.
Our at-home and Lab testers rated different soda makers on attributes like ease of use, carbonation performance, and ease of cleaning—here are our top picks.
Best Overall: Drinkmate Home Carbonation System
Carbonates any beverage beautifully
Compatible with any brand’s carbonation cartridges
No batteries or electricity needed
Some leaking if not careful removing bottle
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, sparkling tea in the afternoon, and carbonated cocktails for happy hour; most carbonators are designed to only work with water. Our Lab testers noted that the sparkling wine they made came out beautifully carbonated, like prosecco, and that the carbonation lasted even after it had been sitting out for a while. They also noted that the carbonation distributed evenly for all beverages, with tiny bubbles and a great mouthfeel.
Our home tester liked that this machine has a small countertop footprint, which makes it a great option for small spaces, and doesn't require electricity (or batteries for that matter). The included bottle has a clearly marked fill line, plus low and high foam levels that let you easily eyeball if you need more or less carbonation. The manual lists how many seconds you'll need to carbonate different drinks.
The Drinkmate can accept standard 60-liter carbonation cylinders from any brand. 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: No | Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 16 inches
“An impressive soda machine. It performed significantly well across all beverage category tests and is especially versatile.”
Runner-Up, Best Overall: SodaStream One Touch Sparkling Water Maker
Easy to clean
Very even carbonation
Three carbonation levels
Includes full-size CO2 cartridge
Needs to be plugged in
Large countertop footprint
This machine is incredibly easy to use; you can select from three levels of carbonation and the machine will automatically add just the right amount of bubbles to your water. Although its electrical needs are small, you will need access to an electrical outlet to use this soda maker. A full CO2 canister comes with it—which makes up to 60 liters—so you won't need to buy anything extra to get started.
Our Lab testers and at-home tester alike noted that the small, tingly, effervescent bubbles were well-distributed and made the water deliciously drinkable, and that the carbonation lasted longer than with many other soda makers. They liked that the automation makes the machine very consistent, unlike manual carbonators, and that it was also very easy to clean. Our home tester called the design "straightforward and sturdy."
Carbonating anything besides water will void the warranty, but you can add flavor drops or homemade flavored syrups after you've added carbonation. Our Lab testers used it to carbonate wine anyway, and found that the carbonation brought out the flavor nuances of the wine. Try at your own risk?
Power Source: Electric | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 1 liter and 0.5 liter | Carbonator Included: Yes | Dimensions: 5.63 x 8.0 x 16.8 inches
“Very bubbly, easy to sip, and refreshing. It really brought out the flavor of chardonnay: bright and airy.”
Best Splurge: Aarke Carbonator III
Minimal countertop footprint
Many finish options
Tedious cartridge loading
Only plastic bottles available
As highlighted by our home tester, this beautifully designed stainless steel carbonator's previous model (the Aarke Carbonator II, detailed in our full review, above) looks gorgeous on the countertop. Don't let the luxe design intimidate you, though—this soda maker is simple to use. Our Lab testers, who tested the current model (pictured below), were pleased with how ergonomic the lever was, which can be good for users with mobility limitations. Our testers also noted that the carbonation was strong and lasted a long time, and they appreciated that the lever releases excess carbonation to avoid messes.
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. It's cordless and doesn't take up much space, which makes it easy to fit anywhere in your kitchen. Just be aware this model does not include a canister, so you'll need to pick one up separately to get started.
This machine is pricey, but if you're in the market for a sleek and high-end option that will look elegant in your kitchen, this is a great choice.
Power Source: Manual | Bottle Material: BPA-free plastic | Bottle Capacity: 800 milliliters | Carbonator Included: No | Dimensions: 6 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches
“Retains bubbles for a long time. It has really nice carbonation, with a mixture of small and large bubbles. [The carbonation made it taste almost] a little spicy, which everyone liked.”
Best Traditional Siphon: iSi Soda Siphon
No batteries or electricity needed
Time-consuming to assemble and use
If you're looking for a soda maker that can be stashed on your bar cart, a traditional soda siphon is your best choice. Used by professional bartenders, a siphon's canister carbonates the water and then “shoots” it into your glass, which feels and looks impressive when making fancy cocktails.
Our home and Lab testers admit this carbonator is tricky to put together and takes quite a few tedious steps to use, but found the end carbonation level was strong and lasted a long time.
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
"There was no burn when drinking the water, and no [unsavory] small bubbles.”
Best Design: MySoda Woody Sparkling Water Maker
Made from sustainable materials
Easy to set up and use
Consistently great carbonation performance
Does not come with CO2 cylinder
Our Lab testers loved this machine's design, which is similar to the Drinkmate. It comes from a sustainability-focused company in Finland, which means higher shipping prices, but the price is still comparable to SodaStream even with the international shipping. We love that this model is made of a sustainable material called biocomposite and doesn't require electricity, which makes it the most eco-friendly option on our list.
We found this carbonator to be very easy to set up, use, and clean, even though it isn't dishwasher-safe. It only carbonates water though, unlike the Drinkmate. Our testers loved the carbonation each time, and found it to be really consistent.
This machine does not come with a CO2 cylinder, but is compatible with all standard cylinder brands. The Mysoda comes in several different colors to match your kitchen.
Power Source: None | Bottle Material: Plastic | Bottle Capacity: 1 liter | Carbonator Included: No | Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.1 x 16.1 inches
“The drink was so refreshing. ... It was crispy, really drinkable, and had small bubbles.”
Our top pick is the sleek Drinkmate Beverage Carbonation Maker because it can carbonate any liquid and doesn't require any electricity or batteries. It's also consistent, affordable, and compatible with other brands' CO2 cartridges. If you want to be able to control the level of precise carbonation through automation, the SodaStream Fizzi One Touch is a great option.
How We Tested
We tested 11 soda makers side by side in our Lab by seeing how well they carbonated water. For the machines that could carbonate liquids other than water, we tested them on apple juice, natural wine, and cocktail syrup as well. If a machine had multiple settings, we used all settings, and if a machine only had one setting, we made three different bottles to assess consistency. We used the same water source for each test and made sure the water temperature was consistent. We also sent several soda makers to the homes of our at-home testers for them to evaluate. We gathered data on the machines' ease of use, carbonation performance, and ease of cleaning.
Other Options We Tested
- Twenty39 Qarbo - Sparkling Water Maker: We loved the ease of assembly and ease of use on this machine, but the carbonation performance was mediocre and many of the beverages we made lost their fizz quickly. One lab tester noted that the wine we carbonated tasted "like wine after the ice has melted." In addition, the bottle was so tall that it was difficult to store in the fridge.
- Soda Stream Aqua Fizz: This machine is quite loud and screechy, and our Lab testers found that the carbonation was highly inconsistent, underwhelming, and not at all long-lasting. It was hard to know how much to push down the lever to get enough carbonation yet also avoid spills. We also felt that the glass was poorly designed and bulky, albeit sturdy.
- Sparkel Beverage System: This machine uses citric acid and baking soda to produce carbon dioxide in lieu of gas canisters, which we found innovative despite the extra step of having to add the citric acid packet. However, it was leaky and far less easy to use than other options; it required a great deal of effort and wasted water for carbonation that didn't last long.
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 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. 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 CO2 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, 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 needing 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 push a lever 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 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 sputters or seems to be less powerful than usual.
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 Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor with almost a decade of experience as a professional chef, and Katrina Munichiello, a writer and editor who specializes in the tea and food industries.