Whether you like making fizzy juices, concocting healthier carbonated drinks, or having sparkling water for all your mini-bar mixes, a soda maker is exactly the thing you want to have in the kitchen. Homemade carbonated drinks offer for a more economical alternative to store-bought fizzy beverage, all while allowing you to really customize the drinks to your exact liking.
Not so long ago, there weren’t that many choices when it comes to soda makers. For the most part, you either bought SodaStream or you took a chance on some no-name brand. That’s not the case nowadays, with plenty of choices for fans of bubbly beverages. Even better, we’re seeing modern tech get infused into the soda maker, too, which could make them just that much easier to use as other modern connected appliances.
These are the best soda makers available today.
Philips GoZero Soda Maker
Want a cheap soda maker than can get the job done? Get this Philips model, which delivers a good combination of aesthetics, function, and affordability. At the price, it’s significantly more affordable than other options, all while looking just as nice as standard soda makers. In fact, some might argue it’s even nicer. And yes, it does make a good fizz pretty consistently, with none of the sourness that some soda makers produce after the sparkling water has sat for a bit. It does, however, produce bubbles that are noticeably smaller than the large ones you see on brands like Drinkmate and SodaStream, but it’s a reasonable tradeoff for being a much more economical choice (unless, of course, you want your big roiling bubbles).
We love the compact size of this soda maker, allowing you to tuck it into a small corner of the kitchen counter. However, that’s not even the best thing about it. What really makes the OmniFizz stand out is that it’s the only brand of soda maker that officially endorses carbonating juices, cocktails, and, pretty much, any beverage you can think of. That means, you can carbonate more than water without voiding your warranty, which is not the case with most other soda makers in the market. Even better, it carbonated every beverage we’ve tried with impressive consistency, producing the same level of fizziness each time out, so long as we were also consistent at infusing the CO2.
This soda maker doesn’t work with standard screw-in CO2 cartridges, so you’ll have to use the outfit’s own Quick Connect cylinder every time. If you can live with that, you’ll probably appreciate the convenience of their custom CO2 cylinder, which eliminates the repetitive wrist motion required to screw a standard cylinder in place, requiring you to simply load the cylinder in the back and lower the plastic lever to lock it in place. Instead of carbonating your drinks by pressing a button, it comes with a lever instead, giving it an old-school soda fountain feel that just sets it apart from your typical soda-making appliances. And yes, using the lever actually feels more ergonomic compared to a button for manual pump action, so we really like that design touch. Like other SodaStream carbonators, though, it only does sparkling water, requiring you to add in any flavorings afterwards.
SodaStream Fizzi One Touch
If you don’t like pressing a button multiple times to carbonate your water, then this SodaStream model just might be what your countertop needs. That’s because it automatically handles how much CO2 is released into the bottle, instead of having to do it manually by pressing the gas release button multiple times. To use, you need to choose a carbonation level (low, medium, or high) and press the main button once, at which point it handles everything else, so you just wait the few seconds until it’s done. We actually appreciate the precise carbonation you can get here, since you’re not winging it each time out the way you would with standard manual pump soda makers. Only catch is, it uses power and requires plugging into a wall outlet, so it’s a little inconvenient on that end, since it adds another single-function appliance to the wire mess in your kitchen.
Sparkel Beverage System
Every other soda maker in the market requires you to use CO2 cylinders. Not this one, which uses packets containing citric acid and baking soda to produce the gas instead, so it’s a bit more economical on that end compared to its cartridge-based counterparts. Because of this, operation just isn’t as smooth or seamless as standard soda makers. You know how you can, typically, put fizz in water in a few seconds using any of the other brands here? Well, it takes anywhere from two to four minutes to do the same thing with this machine, depending on the amount of fizz you want in your drink.
To use this soda maker, you fill the tank in the rear with water, drop the packet’s contents into the top slot, put your bottle in place, and choose a carbonation level. From there, you let it go to work and pick up the bottle once it’s done. Because it handles the carbonation on its own, we found it a bit more precise similar to SodaStream’s One Touch machine. However, it does that appliance one better by officially allowing you to carbonate juices, teas, wines, and anything else you want, just like the Drinkmate, so you’re not limited to pumping out bottle after bottle of sparkling water.
What’s the downside? Mainly the size, as this is bigger than any soda maker available today and requires a bigger footprint in your kitchen counter. Also, while you can use your own citric acid and baking soda mix to carbonate using the machine, doing that can void the warranty, so DIY at your own risk.
Aarke Carbonator III
Not a fan of plastic-covered appliances adorning your kitchen counter? Skip the rest and pick up one of Aarke’s soda makers with its stainless steel build and premium-looking aesthetics. Seriously, this is one of the few soda makers we’ve seen that can really spruce up the appearance of any kitchen counter (it looks like one of those draft taps with kegerators underneath that you see in bars). Despite the elevated looks, the actual function is as straightforward as any manual pump action soda maker, so you simply load a CO2 canister, place a bottle with water on the head, and pull on the lever on the side. The actual carbonation doesn’t feel as consistent as the best manual pump soda makers we’ve tried (sometimes, it releases more CO2 with each pump, sometimes less), although it’s not really a big deal, since you can see what’s happening and adjust in real time. It’s also significantly more expensive than other manual soda makers, but, we guess, that’s the price of entry for something that can actually add a decorative touch to your kitchen space.