would you make your own soda?

I was checking out one of my favorite foodie sites this morning and saw that the folks at Chow had posted about the Soda Stream home soda makers. These fun machines allow you to carbonate your own water or make your own soda. I’m always lugging home bottles of seltzer from the grocery store and feeling particularly bad about buying plastic bottles that will sit in a landfill forever. But will a soda maker really reduce my carbon footprint? Has anyone used one? Is it worth the investment, or just a silly kitchen gadget? –Erica P.

From our partners

We have used a seltzer bottle at home for years. This is my favorite place to buy CO2 cartridges (and where I bought a replacement bottle a few years ago): http://www.prairiemoon.biz/selbotbrsods.html
I don’t know if it’s significantly cheaper to make your own, but it’s nice to always have a fresh bottle ready when you want it. But you have to toss the empty CO2 cartridges in the trash. (whereas is you buy the plastic bottles, you can recycle them.) We seem to have really cut back on our seltzer drinking since we had a baby a couple of years ago…we do more just juice mixed with plain water….guess I don’t want him hooked on fizzy drinks.
Our all time favorite seltzer drink though, is a splash of cranberry juice, juice from half a lime, and top off with seltzer. mmmm.


I definitely have wanted something like this for a long time. The logistics kind of escape me, in that you have to have carbonator, and basically setting up to exchange used cartridges for new via the mail. They recommend not getting it refilled locally, and using other carbonators can void your warranty.

They have the soda mix flavors, although you can add fruit juice. You can’t carbonate anything that’s not water – after you have added flavor to it, it will just have to be drank or go flat. Maybe that’s normal for all home carbonation machines? I LOVE CARBONATED THINGS, so I would want to carbonate everything, end of story. I don’t want to spend a lot of time dolling up a drink of water. Seltzer/sparkling water is one of my new favorite drinks, or else I probably wouldn’t even drink water. The soda mix only makes 12 liters of soda…. in one liter batches. It’s helpful to know you could carbonate some water, and then add iced tea mix or Kool-Aid or single serving Crystal Lite, but you can’t carbonate a bottle of Cranberry-Blueberry 100 healthy no-sugar juice that you bought at the store, or a box of wine. If you want pineapple soda from juice, you can add juice for flavor after carbonating the water. Kind of not the same thing.

The demo video was kind of painful. I didn’t think they showed how it works very well just so they could be cute and fun. It’s also expensive to buy and to exchange carbonators and other supplies, but try to figure out how much you already spend on soda and whether you’ll have the ongoing patience to fuss on it. Bottles (special ones they supply) need to be cleaned by hand with a bottle brush, no dishwasher. I want this very, very much, but it’s got too many reasons for me not to do it at this point.

My husband drinks seltzer almost exclusively (he also drinks coffee and wine) so we were going through up to 2 2 liter bottles every day. Besides the monthly cost and the recycling who wants to schlep that up the stairs? We bought the soda club system almost a year ago and are pretty happy with it. Yes, you can only make 1 liter at a time but we have 6 bottles and it takes 2 seconds so we usually do a few at a time. The cartridges get turned in and exchanged so there is no waste there. We never use syrup or anything so there’s no additional cost for us. I think its worth the money if you plan on using it for a while, its definitely much less of a hassle and there is zero waste.


I have the Penguin (on the right in your photo). It’s more expensive than the others, but it uses very nice glass bottle. I love it! You can give it as much or as little carbonation as you’d like. Works very well with cold tap water, or you can make some up and put it in the fridge for later. The bottles come with a special cap that makes the carbonation last at least a few days.

I have added tea bags to the carbonated water and made some very tasty cocktails. I’m addicted!


Oh yes, oh yes. I received a soda stream as a wedding gift this summer and I LOVE it. It helps me drink so much more water. I received a box of the flavorings that soda stream makes as part of the gift, but they’re probably full of icky things, so I haven’t used them yet. What I have done is started creating special elixers and flavors to make things interesting. Simple syrups infused with lavender and rosemary have been my favorites so far.


i’m getting one! i only drink seltzer water! thanks so much!!!


I have had one for two years and love it! It also makes great tonic water so it’s handy for parties. However, I live in Europe and you can bring the cartridge in for an exchange at practically all grocery stores so it’s a little easier than having to mail it in. I highly recommend the product.

If you live in their area you can have seltzer delivered and empties collected:



Maggy Moller

I’ve had one of those for 10 years (very popular in Iceland) and I use it daily. Wouldn’t want to live without it.


I just got the one on the left for Christmas and I am obsessed. I am a big seltzer drinker so this saves me trips to the store and cuts down majorly on waste. The bottles are much sturdier than I thought they would be.


I ended up building my own machine, which makes soda for 1/10th the cost of the sodaclub machines. I now make soda for 2 cents a liter. All it takes is 5 parts and you’re off and running. If you buy them off ebay you can get going for less than $100 bucks! (And that will fill your bottles for over a year!)

Here’s a great site that will show you how to make your soda:



Cool product, but my husband and I occasionally make our own “soda” by adding fruit juice to sparkling water (like Perrier). Much cheaper that way! :)

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1. Making your own soda is fun. As Cait says: “I just got a [soda maker] for Christmas and I am obsessed. I am a big seltzer drinker so this saves me trips to the store and cuts down majorly on waste. The bottles are much sturdier than I thought they would be.” Read more about how to make your own soda here. […]

Oh yes this is a great product been using it for last two years, realiable and great for soda and seltzer lover, you need to try it definitely the product for 2009 for green innovative ideas.
bought it through http://www.makeyoursoda.com, they give a good description of the whole system and everything.

Mike Spike

Well, the soda stream is kind-a-pricey. So I just use FizzGiz caps (www.FizzGiz.com) and a handheld co2 dispenser. I don’t have to buy proprietary bottles or order co2 refills. I just get food grade co2 cartridges and use ’em when I need ’em.

Wow, just noticed the OP is more than a year old.

Christine Cowles

Can anyone find a bottle brush that fits the bottles provided with the Penguin water carbonator? I can’t find one that is small enough for the bottle openings. Help! Love my Penguin!

shelterrific » Blog Archive » help! i need a narrow bottle brush

[…] year, quite a few of our readers were enthused about the Soda Stream and other at-home water carbonators. But now reader Christine has a cleaning question: Can anyone […]

Bob D.

No matter how you look at it, making one’s own soda is superior to drinking commercial soda if only because it’s healthier. Commercial soda contains a lot of sugar, which we could all do without, and phosphoric acid which can affect the kidneys. I’ve ordered a seltzer water device and plan to make plenty of flavored soda (with the help of frozen juices) I can feel good about drinking and giving to the kids.