The 4 Best Soda Makers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Drinkmate Home Carbonation System outshined the competition in our testing

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soda makers
Photo: People/Tara Donne

The market for soda water has grown considerably in recent years, with a bevy of flavors from brands like LaCroix, Bubly, and AHA becoming staples in nearly every store and fridge. Even stars like Michael Bublé and Ryan Tedder have gotten in the game to celebrate alternatives to sugar-heavy sodas.

At the same time, interest in more affordable, environmentally conscious options has led to an increase in at-home soda makers that are perfectly sized for any counter. We spent a day putting 11 of the top kitchen carbonators through their paces in our test lab to evaluate the ease of use and cleanup, quality of fizziness, versatility, and more. The Drinkmate Home Carbonation System won top honors for its ease of use and ability to carbonate any liquid — juice, tea, and cocktails included.

The soda makers below were considered the best that PEOPLE Tested.

Best Overall: Drinkmate Home Carbonation System

soda maker
Amazon

Pros: The Drinkmate Home Carbonation System can carbonate any beverage and is compatible with CO2 cartridges from any brand.

Cons: The machine runs through CO2 canisters fairly quickly.

After trying out nearly a dozen machines, our testers found the Drinkmate Home Carbonation System to be the best on the market. The impressive device performed well across all tests — from the ease of use to carbonation performance — while also displaying exceptional versatility.

The Drinkmate is one of the few soda makers that can be used to carbonate any liquid. Not only can you turn tap water to sparkling, you can also add bubbles to juice, tea or cocktails without having to worry about damaging the machine. The convenience of that feature alone is enough to rank it on top, but it also earns high marks for a small counter footprint and a two-stage pressure-release valve that cuts down on excessive foam and spillage.

The Drinkmate doesn't require electricity or batteries and has a sleek design that comes in a variety of colors. It is also able to use CO2 cartridges from any brand, so you don't have to stress about locating proprietary products (though the manufacturer has a trade-in program that allows you to purchase discounted CO2 cylinders when you send back your empties).

Our testers found it had a decent level of carbonation no matter the beverage, and the bottles open on both ends, making them easy to clean and dry. They're also very easy to attach to the unit, so they're simple to slide in and out with minimal hassle.

The only downside: The CO2 canisters do have a tendency to run out relatively quickly, so be prepared to refill them more frequently than you'd like.

Power Source Manual
Bottle Capacity 1 liter
Carbonator Included No
Dimensions 5 x 8 x 16 inches

Best for Beginners: SodaStream Fizzi OneTouch

soda makers
Amazon

Pros: The machine is fast, straightforward, and easy to use — delivering sparkly beverages with just a touch of a button.

Cons: It needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work.

SodaStream is the biggest name in the soda machine market, with products that are incredibly fast, straightforward, and easy to use. For users looking for a quick bottle of sparkling water, without lots of fancy features, the Fizzi OneTouch is the perfect option.

The name says it all: With the touch of a single button, you select from three levels of carbonation (low, medium, and high) and get just the right amount of bubbles. The bottles quickly snap into place, no twisting required, and feature an upscale-looking design with metal trim. It comes with a full CO2 cylinder capable of carbonating up to 60 liters, and SodaStream offers refills at a reduced cost, making this the best budget-friendly option. Our testers also found this machine to have a nice, gentle fizz that felt full, providing a pleasant, refreshing drinking experience.

Size and power source are drawbacks: The SodaStream is larger than the DrinkMate, and has to be plugged in — a consideration if your counter space lacks available electrical outlets.

Power Source Electric
Bottle Capacity 1 liter and 0.5 liter
Carbonator Included Yes
Dimensions 5.63 x 8.0 x 16.8 inches
best soda makers
People/Tara Donne

Best Design: Aarke Carbonator III

soda maker
Amazon

Pros: It's easy to use, and its stainless steel design and copper finish looks great on all countertops.

Cons: The machine is expensive, and the CO2 replacements are costly compared to others on this list.

If you're okay with a bit of a splurge and want something that will make a stylish addition to your kitchen, the Aarke Carbonator III is the way to go. This Swedish-designed device is made from stainless steel and has a copper finish that makes for the most elegant look on the market. It also comes in a matte black, black chrome, brass or stainless steel finish, so there are plenty of options to match your interior — and your personality.

Beyond its sleek, sturdy, and minimalist design, the Aarke Carbonator is also incredibly user-friendly. Don't let the fancy look fool you: It's designed to be as simple as screwing in the CO2 tank, screwing in the bottle, and pulling a lever. The entire process takes less than three seconds, and the machine vents the excess carbonation so bottles won't explode or make a mess.

Our testers found it to be easy to use and even easier to clean. The number of bubbles made for enjoyable mocktails and cocktails, but for the price, the fizziness wasn't more exceptional than other selections on this list. Ultimately, the higher price point boils down to aesthetics alone. If you want a soda maker that draws attention for its sleek good looks, Aarke is worth the extra money.

Power Source Manual
Bottle Capacity 800 milliliters
Carbonator Included No
Dimensions 6 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches
best soda makers
People/Tara Donne

Best Features: Twenty39 Qarbo

Pros: It can carbonate any beverage in a snap, while simultaneously infusing fresh flavors.

Cons: The carbonation did not hold up as well as others on this list during testing.

The Twenty39 Qarbo makes it possible to carbonate any beverage, with the extra advantage of simultaneously infusing fresh flavors. The two included 34-ounce bottles feature wide mouths, which makes tossing in the cut fruit of your choice a snap.

It also happens to be one of the sleeker options on this list, with a chrome finish and a range of color options. The lightweight machine is portable enough to store and pull out when needed, but it also doesn't take up much counter space or require batteries or unwieldy power cords.

Our testers found the Twenty39 Qarbo to be only second to Drinkmate in overall quality, with comparable excellence in terms of carbonation performance, user-friendliness, and ease of cleanup. When it came to making mocktails and cocktails, the carbonation didn't hold up as well as the others, but the overall flavor far surpassed the competition.

Power Source Manual
Bottle Capacity 1 liter
Carbonator Included No
Dimensions 17.64 x 11.54 x 5.12 inches

Things to Consider Before Buying a Soda Maker

Ease of Use

Most soda makers sound easy to use, but it's important to find out just how much is required to operate a machine before purchasing. Consider the process of carbonation and how many steps are required. Some only require the touch of a button, but others don't make it quite as simple. Many soda makers require CO2 cartridges, so it's important to know how easy they are to install, replace, and return/recycle.

Carbonation Performance

Carbonation is the key ingredient here, so have a sense of what sort of fizzy drinks you enjoy. Find out if the device allows you to choose the level of fizz, and compare those levels to see if they meet your level of satisfaction.

Control

You may want to make more than sparkling water, and only a few machines have the ability to carbonate juices and other drinks.

Ease of Cleaning

Generally speaking, maintaining soda makers doesn't require much work, but it pays to consider how much post-use aggravation you'll be in for — especially if the addition of syrups or fruit will be adding to the cleanup. Check to see if bottles and other parts are dishwasher-safe.

When to Buy a Soda Maker

Soda makers typically go on sale on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day. You can also typically find models on sale on Amazon, though they may not always be the brand you are looking for.

How We Tested Soda Makers

We tested 11 soda makers in our industrial kitchen setting. We refrigerated water for at least four hours or overnight to ensure consistently cold temperature across tests, then we made seltzer using every available setting on the machine. For single-setting options, we prepared three separate bottles and judged the consistency of carbonation. If machines could be used to carbonate beverages other than water, we tested apple juice, natural wine, and various syrups for cocktails and mocktails.

FAQs

How do soda makers work?

Soda makers work by injecting carbon dioxide into water to create effervescence. Most modern machines (and all the ones on our list) use pressurized CO2 cylinders to deliver carbonation.

How long do soda maker cartridges last?

Soda maker cartridges aka carbonating or CO2 cylinders make 60L of sparkling water. Another factor to consider is the level of carbonation you use—but generally, one cylinder will last from 4 to 8 weeks.

Can you put flat soda in a soda maker?

Technically, you can re-carbonate previously carbonated beverages although manufacturers don't recommend this. The sugar in the beverage can leave residue on your machine and if you aren't careful, the soda can explode everywhere. The best thing to do is try to maintain the CO2 in your beverage by sealing it quickly after pouring.

How can you tell when the CO2 cylinder is empty?

There are several ways to tell if your CO2 cylinder needs to be replaced. The easiest way is to try to use the machine, if you don't hear the normal hissing of the escaping CO2 or if the machine is making sputtering sounds it may be empty. If you see that bubbles are not being emitted into the bottle, this is could mean you need a new cartridge.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our People Tested content.

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