The 5 Best Soda Makers of 2021

Enjoy bubbly beverages without wasteful plastic

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The Rundown
"A big selling point for this machine is that it can add carbonation to any drink, not just water."
"Sleek and elegant, this is a luxe appliance you won’t mind leaving on your countertop."
"This electric unit makes carbonated beverages with the press of a button."
Best Non-Cylinder Soda Maker:
Spärkel Beverage System at Amazon
"If you’d rather not fuss with a CO2 cylinder, this system might be the right choice for you."
Best Traditional Soda Siphon:
iSi Soda Siphon at Walmart
"For occasional use or to dress up cocktails, this unit is a good choice."

If your household enjoys carbonated beverages or you’re trying to drink more water and less junk, a soda maker may be a good option. But biggest draw of soda maker machines for us at Treehugger is that they help reduce waste, because you won’t be buying sparkling beverages over and over again in single-use bottles or cans. If you're making seltzer from tap water, then you're also reducing the planet-heating emissions associated with driving all that liquid from place to place in trucks and cars. Plus, you’ll always have carbonated water at hand, so you may even save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

Most soda makers use gas cylinders, which contain pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to create the fizz. Typically, you recycle bottles through your soda maker's manufacturer or at local retailers. Most of these appliances require no electricity or batteries and are powered only by the addition of CO2. Depending on the unit, one standard-sized CO2 cylinder, which can run about $30 to $40 for the initial purchase (refills run about $20), allows you to make about 60 liters of sparkling beverages. The reusable bottles in which you’ll make seltzer or soda are usually made of BPA-free plastic and typically must be hand-washed.

If you want to perk up the taste of plain water, some companies sell flavored syrups to mix with the water after carbonation. But you also could add a drizzle of real juice or a few pieces of fruit to the water for flavor. A few machines allow you to adjust the fizziness level to your preference. They’re also a fun tool for putting a finishing touch on cocktails.

Even after the initial outlay plus the cost of refilling cylinders and buying flavorings, making your own seltzer can save you money. We estimate that if you spend $20 for a CO2 refill that makes 60 liters of seltzer, and many store brands run about $1 per liter, then homemade seltzer will cost you about a third of the store price. Cost aside, there’s no arguing that water—in whatever incarnation you choose–is a healthier choice than sweetened sodas or diet drinks full of unpronounceable artificial sweeteners.

Ahead, our top picks for the best seltzer and soda makers.

Best Overall: Drinkmate Sparkling Water Maker

Drinkmate Soda Maker

A big selling point for this machine is that it can add carbonation to any drink, not just water. That means you can perk up juices, ciders, wine, and even flat beer with some fizz. The machine doesn’t require electricity and uses standard 60 liter CO2 cylinders, which several different manufacturers make.

It’s intuitive to use, so you won’t be struggling to figure out all the steps. Place the CO2 cylinder in its compartment, fill the plastic bottle with cold water, screw into place, push the button, and you’re set. It’s available in white, red, and black and has a two-year limited warranty. Reviewers say they like that it's easy-to-use, although some commented it’s too tall to fit under some kitchen cabinets.

Best Splurge: Aarke Carbonator

Aarke Premium Carbonator

This unit is pricey, but it’s so elegant and sleek that you may want to display it on your countertop. The CO2 cylinder is concealed inside the unit, and it also has a small footprint, so it doesn’t hog a lot of space. It comes in stainless and several other finishes including brass or black.

Operating this soda maker is extremely easy. Screw the plastic bottle full of water onto the machine’s base and pull down the handle. If you want more bubbles, pull down on the handle up to two more times. It does not come with CO2 cylinders, but you can use any standard 60 liter cartridge, although the company recommends SodaStream’s version. The machine has a two-year limited warranty. Many reviewers comment that it’s beautiful, easy to use, and feels sturdy. 

Best Budget: SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker

SodaStream Fizzi One Touch

Other SodaStream models are operated by pumping a button on top with your fingertips, but this electric unit makes carbonated beverages with the press of a button. The CO2 cylinder is concealed behind a panel, so it’s not unattractive sitting on your counter, but you will need to plug it in.

You can choose from three carbonation levels and purchase flavorings ranging from ginger ale to natural fruit flavors to make beverages more interesting. The plastic bottle must be hand-washed. This unit has a three-year limited warranty. Reviewers like the one-touch button, but a few complained that they didn’t like that you must use only the company’s proprietary CO2 cartridges.

Best Non-Cylinder Soda Maker: Spärkel Beverage System

 Spärkel Beverage System

If you’d rather not fuss with a CO2 cylinder, this machine uses what the company calls “Carbonators,” two-part packets which contain citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. You can carbonate any beverage from water to juice, and you also can add flavorful ingredients, such as real fruit and herbs such as mint, directly into the bottle before carbonation.

Add water and ingredients to the plastic bottle, empty the Carbonator in the tank, push the button, and you have a sparkling beverage. It has five levels of carbonation and comes in designer colors including pink, black, metallic blue, metallic red, sea-foam green, and silver. You do need to use only the Carbonator packets, so you will not void the one-year limited warranty. Many reviewers say they prefer not having to deal with CO2 cylinders and love its compact design. 

Best Traditional Soda Siphon: iSi Soda Siphon

 iSi Stainless Steel Soda Siphon

If want something simply for occasional use or to dress up cocktails, this unit is a good choice. Unlike other soda makers, this retro-styled stainless steel bottle uses small recyclable soda chargers, which carbonate one quart.

To operate this device, fill the soda siphon with water, screw on the head, twist on the soda charger in its compartment, and you’re set. It’s made in Austria and has a two-year limited warranty. Reviewers say they liked that it’s stainless, not plastic and that it fits well in the fridge.

Final Verdict

The Drinkmate Sparkling Water Maker (available at Walmart) is our top pick for its versatility and intuitive operation. The Aarke Carbonator II (available at Williams Sonoma) is a splurge for a special gift or if you plan to leave your machine out on the counter all the time.

What to Look for When Buying a Soda Maker
Size A common complaint is that soda makers are a different size from what customers expected. Consider measuring the spots where you’d like to store and use your device, to make sure your purchase fits your needs. 
Power Source A few soda makers require a power source, but most don’t. If your soda maker does need to plug in, it may impact where you’re able to use it.
Cartridge Requirements Some machines come with a CO2 cartridge, and some don’t, so read carefully to see if you need to purchase a cartridge separately. Some machines are only compatible with proprietary cartridges, while others are more flexible. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is dedicated to helping readers reduce waste and reliance on single-use plastic bottles and cans. Author Arricca SanSone is an expert in kitchen gear and technology that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.