Anyone who doesn’t share a taste for bubbly soda water could be forgiven for thinking these gadgets were a gimmick. But the reality is the opposite. Because for those who do, a home sparkling water maker should be a no-brainer when it comes to sustainability.
These cordless countertop gadgets transform tap water into sparkling at the touch of a button, which not only saves on plastic bottles, but the faff of carrying them home. Suddenly you can add easy fizz to your homemade elderflower cordial, a mojito pitcher or even spruce up your favourite bottle of wine.
Models are designed to encase a 60L CO2 canister which might make them the tallest thing on your work surface, but the best are narrow so as not to further dominate space and have an architectural flair that adds to the character of your kitchen. You’ll find these makers priced anywhere from £50 to £200. The price is often inclusive of the unit, a single CO2 canister and one accompanying bottle, but not always.
SodaStream has long been a key brand player driving the sparkling water maker market forwards and the brand offers a refilling service whereby cylinders can be sent back for sterilisation, re-testing and refilling. It’s set the standard that most now follow. We tested the SodaStream Crystal (£149.99) in this category due to the unique addition of glass bottles, but found the body to be large and cumbersome compared to others and this is an indication of the variety now available.
Although simple in functionality, user-experience definitely plays into the quality of a sparkling water maker. Some are more efficient than others, or louder than you’d like for open-plan living, some offer adjustability over the intensity of carbonation, or may require you to use a screw-driver to load and unload the gas canister.
Our reviews experts tested a carefully researched shortlist of sparkling water makers and scored them across a standardised set of criteria to bring you our tried-and-tested recommendations of the best your money can buy. Everything from maker efficiency to mouth-feel of the soda created was considered in the final results.
Our reviews experts test a wide variety of products every year, from the best air fryers to the best stand mixers, best microwaves and best storage containers. Find out more about how we test products and visit our reviews section.
What to look for in a sparkling water maker
- CO2 canister included: If purchasing from a brand abroad, current import regulations may mean a canister cannot be delivered alongside the sparkling water maker. It’s worth being aware of this.
- Number of BPA-free bottles included: Most will offer a one-litre bottle in the box with a maximum fill capacity of 850ml. But some brands like Aarke and Mysoda offer two, making life easier if you’re pre-chilling or want some on the go or for families.
- Use-by date on the bottles: Carbonating water requires gas regulator valves to be set around 55PSI, which in turn needs bottles that can withstand the pressure. The majority will have a two-year lifespan before needing to be replaced.
- Easily removable base: Gas canisters screw in and should be easily accessible for removing after. Some makers have removable bases that require a screwdriver to release.
What is the difference between sparkling water and soda water?
Sparkling mineral water: naturally carbonated spring water that contains a variety of minerals so therefore varies in flavour.
Club soda: water that’s carbonated by adding CO2 followed by mineral salts.
Seltzer: water carbonated with CO2, without added minerals.
Best sparkling water makers at a glance:
- Best sparkling water maker: Aarke Carbonator 3, £179
- Best affordable sparkling water maker: CO2 You the Carbonator, £99.99
- Best sparkling water maker for eco credentials: Mysoda Toby, £77
- Best sparkling water maker for personalisation: Bibo Fizz, £70
- Best sparkling water maker for versatility: Drinkmate, £99.99
The best sparkling water makers to buy
Aarke Carbonator 3 – Star Buy
Best sparkling water maker
- Comes with two bottles
- Compact footprint
- Automatic pressure release
- Sleek stainless steel outer
Star rating: 5/5
Swedish Brand Aarke has transformed sparkling water maker design into elegant statements with an industrial feel, made of metal rather than plastic. They sit at the luxury end of the price spectrum, but we think this is justified as the performance, efficiency and user-experience of these models are in a league of their own. The stainless steel model tested was a pleasure to unpack, gift wrapped in an elegant black box and secured with a ribbon. Two BPA-free bottles with metal caps and bases are included as is a canister which screws in to secure. When lowered, the handle releases CO2 and it was the quietest tested. This would make the ultimate gift.
CO2 You The Carbonator
Best mid-range sparkling water maker
- Slender design
- Nice chrome-style finish to the bottle’s cap and base
- Slender design
- Only one bottle provided
- May need a screwdriver to release the base for removing the safety valve
Star rating: 4.5/5
Sitting at just under £100, the CO2 You Carbonator is a more affordable option than the Aarke if you’re looking for a simple but eye-catching addition to your kitchen. One large bottle featuring measurement notches for its safe filling is included in the box, along with a canister that can be fed through the base and screwed in, although there are four screws that secure the base panel if you’d prefer not to do this blind. A safety valve needs to be removed before the canister is loaded, which can’t be reached by hand. We used a long pair of tongs to do it but would recommend unscrewing the bottom panel. Despite the body being made of plastic, it remained pleasingly strong with no flex when pressing the button to release the gas, which it did quickly, efficiently and quietly.
Mysoda Toby sparkling water maker
- Available from Mysoda, £77
Best sparkling water maker for eco credentials
- Body of device is made from a wood-based bio-composite made from almost 100% renewable raw materials
- Plastic-free packaging
- Two bottles included
- CO2 canister not included
- Chunkier design than others
- Slight rattle to the outlet spout
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Mysoda Toby is incredibly quiet to use. Two BPA-free reusable bottles accompany the outlet, one with an 850ml capacity and the other just under 500ml which is a more practical size for taking out and about. One of the biggest unique selling points is the composition of its wood-based bio-composite body made from almost 100% renewable materials. The model is available in three earth-tone colours and is a good option if you’re hoping to lessen the environmental impact of your sparkling water maker.
Best sparkling water maker for personalisation
- Adjustable fizz levels
- Statement block design
- Lots of plastic packaging
Star rating: 4/5
The Bibo Fizz sparkling water maker offers four levels of carbonation which is a unique level of control depending on your taste. The use of plastic packaging felt a bit excessive during unboxing. The process of loading and unloading the canister involved releasing the back panel using a silver catch which was simple to do. The featured BPA-free bottle twists to lock into the outlet, which itself is removable so once carbonated, you manually release the pressure before twisting off the outlet cap. Bibo does offer a CO2 cylinder return and refill program by which empty canisters can be returned with a pre-paid returns note.
Drinkmate sparkling water and soda maker
Best sparkling water maker for versatility
- Measurement notches up the 850ml bottle
- Adjustable carbonation
- Two-year manufacturer warranty
- One bottle provided
Star rating: 3.5/5
‘Carbonate anything’ is Drinkmate’s slogan when it comes to this carbonator, designed to inspire the user to go beyond water and experiment with adding bubbles to wine, ice tea and cocktails. It was very efficient. Once slotted in, the carbonation outlet head secures with a magnet making for a smooth user experience. The outlet itself offers a slider for adjustability over fizz level depending on what you’ve got in the bottle. Once filled, you need to release the surplice gas by pressing a button before twisting off the bottle. It was incredibly efficient at carbonating the water, creating more fizz than any others. The UK-based brand also does a CO2 exchange scheme.
How we tested sparkling water makers
Our reviews experts put hundreds of products through their paces every year to bring you impartial and up-to-date buyer’s advice on those really worth your money.
For this test, we followed each model’s instructions for carbonating the water, filling the bottles up to the recommended amount and releasing the gas. The mouth feel and concentration of ‘bubbliness’ was assessed, reflecting the machine’s effectiveness but also efficiency.
We then re-tested the water 12 hours later to assess which bottle had best held the bubbles.
All the sparkling water makers were tested against a standardised set of core and contributing criteria. The scores out of five against the following areas determined the product’s overall star rating out of five stars.
Ease of set-up
Loading and unloading gas canisters plays a big role in determining the user-friendliness of a sparkling water maker. Those with bases that required unscrewing, for example, with a screwdriver, were marked down.
Ease of use
Sparkling water makers are pretty basic but by applying pressure to a machine, you want the base to be stable, the body not to flex and the gas release to be easy to control. Where some machines automatically release unused pressure, others require the manual release or the outlet cap will pop off like a cork.
Quality of materials
Flexing carbonator body? Rattling button or spout? Those with cheap-feel components were marked down.
Quality of carbonated water produced
Depending on the recommended number of pumps for each machine, we marked each model on how fizzy the resulting water was, then re-tested the water after 24 hours in the fridge.
Value for money
Does the price feel justified?
More product reviews
If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.