SodaStream is largely seen as a kitsch, 80s/90s retro fun gadget, and perhaps SodaStream sees it that way too, since they've now secured the endorsement of David 'The Hoff' Hasselhoff. He's part of their campaign to help save, er, sea turtles. Actually, if you watch the video at the bottom of this page, it does make some kind of sense, as turtles, like all sea creatures, are menaced by plastic waste, and owning a SodaStream helps you cut your plastic waste.
Whatever its eco credentials, SodaStream is mainly a product for making tap water into sparkling water. It does one thing, and it does it well. The popularity of the product remains extremely high – you would be amazed how many units they ship around Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day in particular. Also when I say it only does one thing, that is not quite true. You also have the option of making flavoured fizzy drinks, using branded syrups such as Pepsi and 7 Up – also rather retro – or by adding your own flavourings. But I am pretty sure most people over the age of 11 stick to fizzy water. So the question is, should you buy a SodaStream?
How does SodaStream work?
SodaStream consists of a plastic casing – very plastic if I'm being honest, but not totally offensive to look at – with a button on top and a cavity inside. Into the cavity, you screw in a carbon dioxide canister, of a type which you can easily find at Amazon and other retailers, throughout most of the known universe.
The SodaStream comes with a sturdy, reusable plastic water bottle that clips into place at the top of its machine. Once in place, you press down the button on top – SodaStream suggests pressing it 3-5 times for 2 seconds at a time – and CO2 is dispensed down a narrow tube into the bottle, fizzing up your water.
After this, you can add flavourings and swirl them into the sparkling water. Don't vigorously shake the bottle of fizz to mix in flavourings, as you know what that will do.
And er… that's it really. Your sparkling beverage can then be chilled or drunk, or shaken up and sprayed over your enemies.
Is SodaStream any good?
If you want to make fizzy water, I can confirm that SodaStream is good. You get 50-60 bottles of sparkling water per gas canister, and the canister and reusable bottle are easy to screw into place safely and securely.
The only issue I have encountered is that the amount of carbon dioxide dispensed with each button press is not entirely consistent. Sometimes, I have found it helps to open the back of the machine up, unscrew the CO2 canister and then screw it back in again. Or of course, you can just give it a few more squirts of gas if your drink isn't fizzy enough initally.
The SodaStream range is by no means beautiful, but by keeping the designs simple, SodaStream has come up with something that's inoffensive to look at, easy to wipe clean and does its one task well.
What else do I need to know?
Two things! One: the reusable bottle cannot be put in the dishwasher or washed with very hot water. This doesn't bother me – I just half fill it with fairly hot water and a tiny bit of detergent, give it a shake, rinse it out then fill 'er up again. However, if you are some kind of hygiene fiend, I guess you could consider using a baby's bottle sterilising tablet to 'properly' clean it.
The other thing to bear in mind is that while, in theory, you can carbonate anything in a SodaStream, doing anything other than water may cause mess, may gunk up the CO2 dispensing tube and will invalidate your warranty. If you can put up with that, I recommend everyone tries carbonating white wine at least once – you may never buy Prosecco again after trying it.
Where can I see David Hasselhoff promoting SodaStream?
Right here! As you can see, The Hoff now looks like David Hasselhoff, but old. He's still got that old magic, though.
Are there any good SodaStream rivals?
Aarke Carbonator 3 – was £179, now £105 at Amazon – is the upmarket rival to SodaStream, and is more reminiscent of an espresso machine Nigella Lawson might own than the plasticky blob we know and love. It does exactly the same thing as SodaStream but dispenses more CO2 with each pull of the big lever on the side. It's a great machine. In the USA it can be had for a premium $222 at Amazon.
Then we have DrinkMate, which is perhaps the pinnacle of carbonation technology to date. Why? Because here, the CO2 dispensing tube can be removed and cleaned, meaning you can safely carbonate anything. So get out your fruit juices, home-made cola solutions, wine, milk, gravy, anything you like and… get busy with the fizzy. At £119 from Amazon UK or $140 at Amazon USA it's a more expensive option than SodaStream, but you do get two bottles of carbon dioxide instead of just one.
Are there any SodaStream deals on right now?
SodaStream Spirit was £100, now £64 at Amazon
Well let's face it; there are practically always deals on SodaStream at Amazon. Its price has gone as low as £39, around Amazon Prime Day. The Spirit is 100% idiot-proof, and comes with 60 litres of gas – enough for 'up to' 60 litres of fizzy drink – and a 1 litre, reusable, BPA-free bottle. For deals outside the UK, see the handy widget below.