SodaStream Art is a huge improvement from the brand… but it's basic compared to Aarke's rival carbonator

SodaStream may have gone upmarket but Aarke is INSANELY swanky!

SodaStream Art
(Image credit: SodaStream)

SodaStream have built a surprisingly enduring business out of selling machines that puff carbon dioxide into water. And why not? It's both a good way to save money on – and reduce the environmental impact of – buying bottled sparkling water, and of course it is also great fun to 'get busy with the fizzy.' That's a 1980s SodaStream slogan that they should totally bring back.

One drawback with SodaStream machines of yore is that they took 'affordability' to a logical conclusion by often seeming plasticky, shoddy and downright cheap. Their machines are keenly priced and always do the job they're intended to, but they have tended not to give a very premium feel to the act of adding fizz to your water. 

That is changing now though, with the release of SodaStream Art. This is still made of plastic but its glossier, less erm… plasticky plastic. Rather than a crap button that is unsatisfying to press, there is now a nifty lever. And as well as Pepsi and 7 Up syrups to mix with your freshly-carbonated water there are now more sophisticated offerings such as Kombucha.

The only slight problem is that while SodaStream has gone at least somewhat upmarket with the Art, its posh, Scandinavian rival Aarke has come out with a device so swanky and premium in price that it makes the Art look positively poverty-stricken. I'll come on to that shortly, though. This exactly mirrors the last time I wrote about SodaStream, when they sent me a cheap machine and Aarke sent me an expensive one. History repeats, as now SodaStream has sent me a nice, more expensive machine… and Aarke has sent me an even pricier one that is absolutely resplendent in an all-metal body, and even boasts 'one-handed operation', no less!

£139.99

Aarke Carbonator Pro

Aarke Carbonator Pro: will you just look at that

(Image credit: Aarke)

The Aarke may boast one-handed operation and a very attractive glass bottle that is dishwasher proof – most SodaStream bottles are not. However, SodaStream has a few new tricks up its sleeve for the Art. Foremost among this is a new CO2 canister design that simply slots into place, rather than needing to be screwed in. This is a very welcome step forward although admittedly, screwing in a the old-style COs canisters wasn't all that arduous.

Also, while the Art's reusable bottle is plastic rather than glass, SodaStream has managed to make it dishwasher-proof. While it won't last as long as Aarke's glass alternative with careful use, it is also more resistant to being dropped, of course. A replacement bottle from Aarke will set you back £24, so be careful now.

Aarke Carbonator Pro and SodaStream Art

SodaStream and Aarke: guess which one is pricier. 

(Image credit: Aarke/SodaStream)

I've got to say that, while SodaStream has made a big step forward in looks and design quality with the Art, it is absolutely blown away by the Aarke Carbonator Pro. However, both machines do the exact same thing and the Aarke machine is almost double the price of its SodaStream rival. 

The SodaStream bottle clicks satisfyingly into place, and then the lever dispenses the CO2 to fizz your water up. With the Aarke machine, you place your bottle on the plinth and push down the entire tube arrangement on top, until it locks very satisfyingly into place. A few short presses of the button on top then carbonates your water. You do have to screw in your carbon dioxide canister with the Carbonator Pro, however. I bet Aarke are kicking themselves for not upgrading to the new push-in ones instead, but screwing in the supplied can was very easy so I can't complain.

Competition and choice are good for any market but how far can your love for fizzy water – and your wallet – stretch? The choice is yours.  

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially Reddit before the invention of Reddit. There was a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."