Soda Maker Buying Guide

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Home soda makers are one of the most amazing modern marvels when it comes to kitchen convenience. These nifty devices let you make your own sodas and carbonated beverages at home without needing to have a huge, commercial machine or spending tons of money in the process. If you’re thinking about making the switch to homemade sodas, but aren’t quite sure about what soda maker you should get, check out the major points in this guide and learn what you need to consider before you make your purchase.

Carbonation Style

The most significant factor when it comes to buying a home soda maker is the carbonation style that the device uses. It’s very common for most soda makers to use CO2 canisters to carbonate the water, which is the same type of gas that is used in commercial sodas. This type of soda maker does carry a small bit of safety risk because the canisters are under extreme pressure, and can cause harm if not used correctly or if you overcharge a bottle by inserting too much carbonation. However, these issues are more factors to stay aware of than a constant source of concern. Following the instructions that come with your soda maker should ensure completely safe operation every time.

The other major type of carbonation process you are going to find in home soda makers comes from electric models. These soda makers do not use CO2 canisters, and instead have internal motors that handle the carbonation process. I would be wary of any soda makers that use other types of gases, or any manual processes, as these may carry different safety or health concerns as well as limit the actual lifespan of the soda’s fizziness.

Carafe Material

In most cases, soda makers come with reusable plastic carafes that you can insert directly into the actual body of the device. If the soda makers comes with a plastic bottle, you should make sure that it is BPA-free to avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals during use. Most plastic bottles will feature some form of recommended usage period, typically around two years, during which time the bottle will operate at an optimum level. After that period, you may see the bottle cause the soda to lose carbonation at a faster rate, or even leak in extreme cases. At that point, the plastic—even if it is BPA-free—can also contaminate the water, which is why manufacturers place a lifespan on its use.

Some soda makers come with glass carafes, which do not typically include any kind of expiration date on use. Glass does not break down like plastic does over time, so they are always safe to use. Since you won’t have to swap out the bottles every few years like with plastic, you can also create less waste overall and create less of an impact on the environment. These bottles should also be reusable, so you don’t have to deal with purchasing new containers every time you want to use your soda maker.

Included Components

You should always check the product description of every soda maker to find out what is included in the package. Specifically, you want to find out if it includes a CO2 canister and a bottle, so that you can start using it right away. If the package does not include one or either of these items, then you will need to purchase them separately before you can make your own soda. Be sure to check the requirements of the device, as not every CO2 canister and bottle is compatible with every soda maker. Also, some soda makers may only include a miniature or starter CO2 canister, which will give you significantly fewer charges than a full-sized canister.

Some models may also come with additional accessories, such as special caps for the bottles or stirring spoons to incorporate the flavor mixture with the soda water. There are even models that come with samples of different flavor mixes, which is very helpful since you don’t need to purchase anything else to start enjoying your drinks.

Total Capacity

There two places where you need to check the capacity on your soda maker: the carbonator and the bottle. The capacity on the carbonator will tell you how much soda you can make before you need to purchase a new one. Typically, this is expressed as the total volume of soda water you can create rather than a number of uses, with 30 to 60 liters being common for full-sized canisters. Remember that this is an approximation, since the total amount of use depends on how carbonated you make your drinks each time.

The capacity in the bottle tells you how much of your beverage you can make at once. Most soda makers require you to carbonate a full bottle at once, so that you can then add in the flavor mixture to create your beverage, rather than making a single cup at a time. Larger bottles are great for parties or multiple people, but can create extra if you’re just making the soda for yourself.

Carbonator Refills

If your soda maker uses a CO2 canister as a carbonator, then you are eventually going to need to purchase refill. Most soda makers don’t have any kind of indicator on the canister, so it’s hard to tell when you are running low until you actually run out. You may want to have an extra canister on hand if you plan on using your soda maker for a large event or gathering, but that’s up to your personal preference. In order to get a new canister, you will need to take the old one to a participating retailer and purchase it, so you should make sure there is one near you before you purchase the soda maker. Otherwise, it might be very difficult to obtain refills.

Operation Method

Since most soda makers don’t require a power source to operate, you’re typically going to see a push-button system to start the carbonating process. If you want more control over how carbonated you like your soda to be, then look for models with this manual operation style. Electric soda makers usually only have a single setting for carbonation, so you don’t have as much control. Also, if the soda maker has a lever or other operation method, make sure it functions as you expect so that you aren’t surprised by the usage style when it shows up.

Approved Liquids for Use

It’s important to note that the majority of soda makers out there only work with water, which means that you can’t put any other kinds of liquids into the bottle before you start the carbonation process. The standard procedure is to carbonate a bottle of plain, warm water and then add in your flavor to create your own bottle of soda. You can then chill the bottle or pour it into cups with ice to drink.

If you want to be able to carbonate juices, alcoholic beverages and other kinds of drinks, then you need to find a soda maker that is specifically made to function with those types of liquids. If you try to carbonate a liquid that the soda maker doesn’t support, then you could damage the device and even put yourself in danger of being harmed by a malfunction from a clog in the system.

Soda Maker Conclusions

Hopefully these guidelines have helped you gain a better understand of what to look for in a home soda maker. While it may seem like there is a lot to keep track of, staying organized and creating a list of the features that matter most to you can help you sort everything out and find the right model for your needs.