Carbonates any beverage—not just water
Sleek, compact design
No electricity or batteries needed
Compatible with any CO2 cartridges
Doesn’t include a full-size CO2 canister
Less control over carbonation level
Unable to remove packaging tape
We purchased the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Seltzer water—also called carbonated water, soda water, sparkling water, or fizzy water—and spiked seltzers have been all the rage lately, so it’s no surprise appliances like the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System are in high demand.
At-home soda makers allow you to carbonate your own beverages, but most models can only carbonate water. However, DrinkMate (formerly known as iSoda) claims its Home Carbonation System can carbonate cold water, juices, iced tea or coffee, energy drinks, wine, cocktails, and even flat soda. We wanted to see if this gadget is as useful as it sounds, so we tapped into our inner mixologist to test out the brand’s claims. Here are our findings.
Setup: No elbow grease needed
The DrinkMate is ready to use straight out of the box. The only setup required is screwing the CO2 cartridge into the back of the machine and filling the bottle with water, then sliding it into place. Just like that, we were ready to start creating fizzy drinks.
Performance: Versatile and easy to use
The particular kit we purchased came with the DrinkMate countertop machine and a reusable BPA-free 1-liter bottle and 10-liter CO2 starter cylinder, which means the plastic containers aren't made from Bisphenol-A/BPA that is found in polycarbonate (a.k.a. hard and clear) plastics and has been linked to developmental issues in fetuses, infants, and children. This kit also has a 10-liter CO2 starter cylinder. Typically, this machine uses a 60L CO2 cylinder (which means it can carbonate up to 60 liters of water), so the full size canister needs to be purchased after the small starter unit is used. Naturally, we ended up going through the 10L cylinder faster than we did a 60L one, but on the plus side, DrinkMate not only sells their own CO2, but all of their machines are compatible with any 60L CO2 cylinders on the market.
The DrinkMate machine itself is tall, sleek, and simple, and it requires no batteries or electricity to operate. Unlike some soda makers, the DrinkMate’s bottle actually snaps into place, indicating that it’s locked to prevent any spillage. The bottle rests at an angle, and you push it back to start the carbonation process. There’s a button at the top of the machine that we pushed intermittently to reach our desired carbonation level.
The instructions say to release the bottle when you “hear a hiss,” but we didn’t find this to be particularly efficient. On our first few tries, we held down the button two or three times, only to find the carbonation level in our drink was very low. It was hard to gauge how carbonated we could get the beverage, but after some experimenting, we were able to get the water fizzier with larger bubbles.
The DrinkMate soda maker comes with a pressure-release valve to use once the carbonation process is complete. To operate it, we clicked the bottle out of the machine and pressed a small blue button to release the pressure and unscrew the cap. It’s a small extra step, but when compared to other popular soda machines that release pressure automatically, it feels slightly inconvenient.
On our first few tries, we held down the button two or three times, only to find the carbonation level in our drink was very low.
What’s most unique about the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System is that it can accommodate more than water due to its pressure-release valve. If you try to carbonate juice or alcohol in a standard carbonation machine, it will make a major mess because the carbonation level is just too high, and it may also ruin the machine and void its warranty. All that to say, having the option to carbonate more than water with the DrinkMate is a big differentiator from other competitors. It also made hosting gatherings a little more fun, as we were able to offer guests custom fizzy cocktails.
Design: Sleek and modern
DrinkMate Soda Maker’s design is sleek and simple. Its dimensions are 8 x 5 x 16 inches, and it required slightly more space than we anticipated due to its height. The appliance comes in white, black, or red, and we opted for the white model and found that it fit well with any kitchen concept. Overall, it’s an attractive machine that we used multiple times a day and enjoyed having on display.
The machine’s BPA-free plastic bottle is conveniently marked in graded amounts, making it perfect for measuring ingredients. We also liked that the bottle locks into place, as opposed to machines that carbonate lidless bottles without any locking indicator.
The machine’s BPA-free plastic bottle is conveniently marked in graded amounts, making it perfect for measuring ingredients.
However, the one issue we noticed in terms of design is that during the packing process, DrinkMate seals the sides of the machine with a piece of blue tape that does not come off—we tried everything, but it wouldn’t budge. The tape almost looks like an intentional stripe, but it would be nice if they sealed it with something that wouldn’t affect the machine’s overall appearance.
Cleaning: Hand wash only
Neither the appliance or bottle are dishwasher safe, so you’ll need to wash them by hand—an easy enough task with a bottle brush.
Because we opted for the white color, we were nervous it would be quick to show dirt and wear, but the appliance has a slightly glossy finish and is easy to clean with a little soap and water.
Price: A crowd-pleasing cost
At around $100, the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System is an affordable soda maker for those who intend to use it on a daily basis. It’s slightly cheaper than other appliances, and it actually does more than most by carbonating beverages beyond water.
DrinkMate Home Carbonation System vs. SodaStream Source Sparkling Water Maker Starter Kit
Pepsi-owned SodaStream is arguably the industry leader when it comes to soda makers, and its SodaStream Source Starter Kit is comparable to the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System, as both products include a soda maker, 1-liter bottle, and starter cylinder of CO2.
While both appliances have a sleek design with roughly the same dimensions, we liked that the DrinkMate has a lid-locking feature—SodaStream’s lack of a locking indicator resulted in a few unintended messes. Another point of differentiation is that the SodaStream only carbonates water, but the DrinkMate can be used with water, juices, iced tea, coffee, energy drinks, wine, cocktails, and even flat soda. However, with the SodaStream, you can customize the carbonation level more precisely, choosing from light, medium or heavy fizz.
A more versatile soda maker.
If you’re looking for a soda maker that can carbonate more than just water, the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System is one of your best choices, and its sleek design and low price point don’t hurt, either.
- Product Name Home Carbonation System
- Product Brand DrinkMate
- Price $119.99
- Weight 4.55 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 5 x 16 x 8 in.
- Item Model Number 410-02-3z
- Color Options Ivory white; matte black; royal red
- Material Plastic
- Warranty 2-year limited warranty
- What's Included DrinkMate Soda Maker; one 1-litter reusable bottle; one 10-liter CO2 carbonator cylinder