The 9 Best Soda Makers According to Pros and Reviews

The 9 Best Soda Makers According to Pros and Reviews

If you’ve visited a bar, backyard BBQ, beach party or even just left your house in the last few years, you know: Seltzer is having a moment.

Boosted by the popularity of hard seltzers, carbonated, sparkling waters have become a $29 billion industry and beverage staple in home bars and banquet halls worldwide.

But, as more of us reach for a glass of something cool and fizzy, the price tag and the inconvenience of regularly needing to replenish supply—along with the ecological cost of all those discarded plastic bottles—has led many to enlist the help of a soda maker for regular bubbles.

With all the new and buzzy options on the market, how does one choose the best, most effervescent choice? That depends on what you need for your space, lifestyle and carbonation preferences.

But first, how exactly do soda makers work?

It’s All in the Spritz

Carbonated water contains dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2). This process occurs both naturally and through the mechanized infusion of tiny, refreshing bubbles.

For centuries, European spas served naturally occurring carbonated mineral spring water as a curative. We can credit the popularity of artificial sparkling water to English scientist Joseph Priestley, who, inspired by the vapors produced by his local brewery, accidentally discovered that water infused with carbon dioxide creates effervesce.

While Priestley’s soda maker was a rather involved device that required piping, pumps and even an animal bladder to produce CO2, it’s often credited with paving the way for the modern soda maker. Today, most seltzer makers rely on CO2 canisters, which, at the press of a button, release gas through a designated chamber into the carbonating water bottle, adding fizz. Bottles are then covered with an airtight cap, allowing bubbles to form and build pressure, forcing CO2 to dissolve into the water.

We turned to the experts and product reviews to find the best model.

1. Best for Small Spaces: iDrink Drinkmate

For Todd Nelson, vice president of marketing & PR at Winesellers, Ltd, the perfect seltzer comes courtesy of the iDrink Drinkmate.

According to Nelson, the Drinkmate is excellent for creating a balanced seltzer and is ideal for cramped or smaller city kitchens due to its portability and size.

“It’s great for on-counter use, and it also tucks in seamlessly with our coffee maker and Nespresso machine,” he says. “It blends in and is very clean looking.”

Plus, for those seeking to create singular cocktails, the Drinkmate model is built to carbonate juices, teas, wines and mixed cocktails, Nelson says. It can also be used to infuse new life into stale beer and coffee.


2. Best on a Budget: Mysoda Woody

In addition to making a great glass of seltzer, the Mysoda Woody is a fraction of the cost of competing soda makers.

Quiet and versatile, Woody’s sparkling water is composed of renewable raw materials and works without electricity, making it ideal for camping and more rustic settings.

A collaboration with Pentagon Design and recognized with the prestigious Red Dot Design Award, this sparkling-water maker comes with a one-liter drinking bottle crafted from an ecological bio-composite produced from waste. It also makes for an excellent gift for green-minded, design-oriented friends and family.

Finnish Design Shop

3. Best for Frequent Home Entertainers: SodaStream

Chris Marshall knows seltzer. The founder of Austin’s Sans Bar, one of the nation’s first sober bars, is considered an original player in the alcohol-free movement. He has used sparkling water as the basis for his cocktails and his life ethos for years.

“I use a SodaStream personally—it makes at-home drinks fun and accessible,” he says. “And the SodaStream Jet is absolutely the best for the at-home bartender.”

Marshall explains that finding the right seltzer balance is crucial to his drinks. “When tasting zero-proof cocktails, people want to feel like they are drinking something strong,” he says. “And the right level of carbonation adds to the perception of an elevated experience.”


4. Best for Larger Spaces: KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker

If you have a large kitchen or bar area and a penchant for retro design, the chic KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker is ideal.

A collaboration with SodaStream, these ’50s-inspired seltzer makers, which come in colors like Empire Red and Contour Silver, is an homage to the brand’s classic stand mixers and are made of solid die-cast metal. Easy to clean and compatible with all SodaStream products, this durable, premium streamer is a unique conversation piece with all the tech and innovation you’ve come to expect—and need—from an at-home soda maker.


5. Best for Versatility: SodaStream Fizzi

“I like my nonalcoholic drinks to have some body to them,” explains freelance writer Stephanie Gravalese, who covers beer, local restaurants and the growing popularity of non-alcoholic beverages. “Since the absence of alcohol removes that element, I’m always looking for something a bit tart and effervescent.”

Gravalese notes that for hospitality insiders, good carbonation can step up an alcohol-free beverage, “especially if it’s an event where you’re serving a crowd. The dizziness also makes me feel like I’m drinking something special, so having the ability to adjust that is key.”

After testing out several options over the years, Gravalese is partial to the SodaStream Fizzi and its ability to modulate carbonation. “I prefer to have control of as many elements as I can in my drink, which is why I’m a big fan of the SodaStream Fizzi—because you can adjust the carbonation to suit your tastes because not all drinks require the same level of carbonation.”

Starts at $69.99

6. Best for Portable Seltzer: GrowlerWerks

You’re not imagining it: Hard seltzer is everywhere. Its sales outpace select beers and vodka, with global investment firm Goldman Sachs expecting the hard seltzer market to reach $30 billion in sales by 2025. Harnessing this popularity, Portland’s GrowlerWerks released the uKeg Twist Seltzer Maker for hard seltzer on the go.

Durable and lightweight, the uKeg Twist Seltzer Maker comes in 24-ounce or 36 ounce options with flavor drops to create hard seltzer right in the bottle, able to be sipped or poured directly from the built-in spout.


7. Best for Professional Use: CO2 siphon

Drinks are an elevated art form at the luxurious Sereno Hotel collection, which has locations at splashy jet-set destinations like St. Barths and Lake Como.

“We use CO2 siphon to add carbonation to our preparations,” says Luca Scaglia, bartender at Sereno Hotels.

Scaglia and his team use the soda siphon alongside fresh fruits and vegetables to make seasonal cocktails as well as the alcohol-free welcome drink served to all guests on arrival. The ISI soda chargers create an “easy but very tasteful fizzy drink,” he says.


8. Best for Innovative Design Lovers: Spärkel Beverage System

In a crowded market, the Spärkel Beverage System stands out for its cutting-edge design and eco-consciousness. Its design forgoes CO2 tanks for proprietary carbonator sachets, powered by electricity, that concoct fizzy drinks and enable users to add flavoring or ingredients to the bottle, including fruit, tea, herbs, wine, spirits and just about any other concoction you can imagine.


9. Best for High End Spaces and Events: Aarke

Ian and Carly Blessing, sommeliers at Napa’s The French Laundry, never expected that, after having kids, they would be as passionate about non-alcoholic beverages as they once were about wine.

After finding limited alcohol-free mixer options on the market, they launched All The Bitter, a zero-alcohol-by-volume (abv) bitters brand made from wild, foraged ingredients. Seltzer and carbonated drinks now play a huge role in their lives and careers.

“We use the Aarke Premium Carbonator and love the sleek look in copper,” says Carly Blessing about the Swedish-designed, metal-clad Aarke Premium Carbonator, which looks chic and uses a lever to add gas rather than the standard button. She also appreciates that Aarke shares the couple’s sustainable ethos. “We like that they use glass bottles as we’re trying to avoid beverages that produce more plastic waste.”

Are Home Soda Makers Worth It?

Soda makers may never replace the bar experience, but they certainly add a level of convenience for home bartenders and seltzer enthusiasts. They also provide a more cost-efficient and eco-friendly means of crafting unlimited seltzer right from the kitchen counter. And for “seltzer sommeliers” who prize balance, acidity and mouthfeel in carbonated water, having control over carbonation levels is key.

But whether you are a soda-making veteran or just dipping your toes into this bubbly new world, the right tools are vital. And how you choose what soda maker is in the cards is ultimately up to how big your space (or wallet) will accommodate.


Published on May 31, 2022

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