Why You Should and Should Not Buy This Product
So obviously you're reading this hoping to understand why you should buy this product and why you shouldn't. And you've read a bunch of reviews and there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. Seem's either people hate it and tell you to beware, or love it and highly recommend it.... so you're confused....correct?
Well, read this review from someone who understand technological things and simply isn't some person looking to get soda for 10 cents per liter bottle. If this is what you're looking for, it isn't going to happen. At least not unless you own a carbon dioxide supply company.
So why should you buy this?
1. First off, it does work as advertised. Once you connect the CO2 cartridge, there's not much more to set up, other than put some water (preferably spring or filtered COLD water) in the liter bottles (or 14 oz bottles sold separately), inject the "proper" amount of carbonation into the bottle and then add whatever amount of flavoring you wish. I say "proper" amount of carbonation because the soda maker (at least the ones bought recently - I have the "Dynamo" model and this review was written in Nov 2011) will add carbonation to the point where the pressure will force the unit to make a sort of "buzzing" sound which indicates that the maximum carbonation has been added into the water, and the excess is being forced out to create that "buzzing" sound.
2. The ability to add carbonation up to the point where the SodaStream "buzzes" or "burps" brings up another plus. You can add less carbonation than the SodaStream maxes out at, in which case you won't hear the warning sound. But when you do this, you create carbonated drinks which have varying amounts of carbonation in them. If you desire less, you can make carbonated drinks with less.
3. Flavors. A third plus. Yes, some people don't like the flavors that SodaStream provides. But these are the same people SodaStream were probably never going to satisfy anyway. SodaStream provide a bunch of flavors....cola's (diet/reg), Dr. Pepper-like flavors (diet/reg), Sprite and Sierra Mist-like flavors (diet/reg), Orange, Energy, Grapefruit, lightly flavored unsweetened "MyWater" flavors, etc., etc. The point is, as a 3rd plus, you can use their flavors or you can experiment and try anything you like that will flavor your soda. I use Mio water flavorings which provide excellent, low calorie alternatives. If you don't like their flavors, then don't complain and knock the technology. Be creative and leverage what the SodaStream gives you....which is convenience and flexibility/options.
4. Green. A fourth plus is that you refill plastic bottles espcially designed for use with SodaStream soda makers. Because of this, you don't buy cans or 2 liter bottles from the store, in some states paying a redemption free for the right to lug this stuff home, then drinking your soda and then accumulating all these cans and bottles to take back to a redemption center, or worse, throwing them away and filling a ton of landfills.
5. Health. A fifth plus...or at least it can be. People really shouldn't drink too much soda. At least soda with sugar in it. It leads to obesity, diabetes, etc. Yes... you can flavor water with stuff like Mio or add some juice from an orange or lemon. But not only does it not taste as good as a soda, you just know that flat water based drinks are missing something. And what's missing is that carbonation and the SodaStream will add that for you, and allow low calorie flavored drinks to taste better and be better for you!
6. Space. A sixth plus is space. That's obvious. You don't have all the bottles and cans sitting around, and the SodaStream unit only takes up a small amount of counter space.
7. Convenience. Yes you do save time and hastle from going to go to the store to lugging around bottles and cans of soda, this one is sort of a wash. See the reasons why you don't buy the SodaStream. But at the same time, those who claim that it's hard to find replacement CO2 cartridges, don't get out of the house much. In California at least, you can get replacements at any Staples, Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sears, Costco, and Target (to name a few). What may be issue is returning the unused cartridges, since not all stores that carry the cartridges, support sales and exchanges of the old cartridge. But what i do is simply collect the unused ones, and then periodically go to a store that does accept them.
So now lets address why you shouldn't buy the SodaStream. Or better yet, lets address why you don't buy the SodaStream.
1. To save money. While i know you will save money per liter, my feeling is that if that's the primary reason you're looking to buy the SodaStream, i don't recommend it. It's not signifant enough in my humble opinion, to warrant spending around $100 to $130 for a SodaStream unit, another $30 (minimum, less tax and shipping if you purchase the cartridges online).
2. Convenience. Despite the convenience "pluses" i mentioned earlier, as i stated, this is sort of a wash because you still have to go and return cartridges, and purchase syrup/flavoring, albeit less frequently than buying soda depending on how much you used to buying at one time.
Hope this information helps. One last note. In California where we have to pay a 5 cent redemption fee per can, this tilts the money saving and convenience to the "plus" side. A 24 pack adds another $1.20 at the cash register, and then you have to store the sticky cans and bottles until you can accumulate enough to make it worthwhile, to drive to the local redemtion center to get your cash back. That's incentive enough alone to purchase a SodaStream!!!
No more guilt over plastic bottles!
I love this thing! I bought it originally in order to stop throwing away so many plastic bottles (we're seltzer maniacs here).
* You can control the water source and filter it.
* You can control the fizziness (we're getting up to a level that boils in our blood for at least an hour after drinking it, but you can have a light Euro-water-style fizz as well).
* It's entertaining to use.
* It's better for the environment.
* The sound makes the dog get all wiggy, which is fun to watch. It sounds like a big raspberry when you fizz up a bottle of water.
* You'll probably be the only one on your block with a seltzer maker - it definitely spanks a bread machine.
I still haven't had to return the CO2 bottle, so I don't know how easy that's going to be. Delivery was slow but entertaining: about 3 weeks after we ordered, an actual Soda-Club delivery woman showed up at our door toting our new Soda-Club.
One caveat: the syrups are pretty revolting...at least the ones we tried. Plus, they all contain artificial sweeteners, even the non-diet ones. But we just add some lemon or orange essence (available in the spice section at your store) to pep it up a bit.
Also, if you go through fizzy water pretty fast, be sure to order two extra bottles. You have to chill the water before you fizz it up, so it's good to have a few in rotation.
Easy to Use, Tastes Fantastic
A friend at work mentioned this product. My husband is a HUGE soda drinker so I got it for him for Christmas. It has far exceeded my(our) expectations.
We bought our kit directly from Soda Club. Only difference is that we got full bottles of the liquid mix plus the sampler kit. We ordered only the diet ones.
1) The machine is so easy to use. Put it together, fill the 1 liter bottle provided with water, put it on the machine, press the button a few times to carbonate it, take the bottle off, add the syrup, put on the lid and shake. Then, let it settle for maybe 30 minutes.
2) The taste is amazing. I never knew soda could taste fresh. The diet sodas don't even taste diet. We've tried the lemon lime, rootbeer, and pink grapefruit so far. I've even given some to friends and they loved them (without knowing we made them). Comments were "refreshing" and "nice balance of carbonation and sugar" and "no aftertaste."
3) Unlike 2 liter bottles that potentially go flat (and it's hit and miss in our experience), this 1 liter bottle is perfect for us. We generally drink a single 1 liter bottle in a day, and make a new flavor each morning.
4) When it comes to price comparison, we're not sure yet as we haven't seen exactly how many liters we can get from one carbonation cyclinder. The syrup is $5 a bottle and makes 12 liters. That equals $.42 cents a bottle. My *guess* is that this will come out to be the same price as buying it from the store. HOWEVER, the convenience and taste make it a better value for our money.
We highly recommend this item - if you like soda and can live without a brand name product like Coke or Pepsi. Honestly, I love Coke and will still continue to drink that. But, when I want something different, and/or something diet, my SodaStream is where I'll go!
Excellent for Old-Skool Cocktails or New Age Tonics
I've never been a drinker of colas, but have always had a nostalgic desire to own a 1930s style seltzer siphon, since I make and serve a lot of cocktails at home to guests. I've also always enjoyed nectar sodas, as we used to call them here in the South, straight from Mr. Schweikhardt's Pharmacy counter. I've looked at 3-5 seltzer makers in the past, but they've always been very expensive and very fragile, and so I've never bought them in the past.
I finally bought this product and after using it for some time, can unreservedly recommend it. If you are a mom who has to buy cases of cola, or an athlete who wants to make his own energy drinks, or (like me) a hedonist who wants the perfect gin fizz or a more elegant whisky-soda, or to experiment with other concoctions, this is an awesome money-saver that will handsomely pay off in the long term.
Even my 6- and 8-yo nephews and nieces are much happier to visit now that they know I will make them sugar-tasting fizz water, and my 8yo nephew has actually started puttering around the kitchen with me to try out his own new flavors. It's very much idiot proof (I'm the perfect candidate) and so I can say if you drink a lot of soda or a lot of carbonated water, you'll find this a fantastic alternative to provide you with all the base you want for your colas, sodas, or sparkling waters. Since you're making it yourself, you can also adjust the sugar content so that it's not horrid for your teeth and blood sugar level. All-around a big hit in our household.
5 years and still satisfied
Went to a home and garden show just to look. First booth we came to was Soda Club and bought a unit.
I drink a lot of carbonated water (not club soda which may contain salt and other ingredients depending on brand), and making my own is very convenient. I use COLD water from the refrigerator door (there is a filter in the frig) and it works great. Once you make a few bottles you can store them in the frig without loss of charge (I tested one for 6 months, when I opened it and it was fine).
I emphasized the COLD water because the colder the water the better the carbonation will be absorbed.
As for refilling the tanks - I live in the Sacramento area, I order the refilled tanks from the website and usually get them delivered to my door within a couple of days, much quicker than I expected. If they have local service in your area be sure to have the empty tanks outside the day after you place your order (or you might have someone knocking on your door looking for your empties like happened to me).
I can't really comment on customer service problems because other than ordering refill tanks I've never had to contact them.
5 years and never a problem, still works as well as the day I bought it.
The refill tanks are expensive but still cheaper that buying the product at a store. Add to that the saved trips, the lack of unnecessary empty containers and the knowledge of how pure your carbonated water is, and in the end I've find it worthwhile.
While I tried some of the soda mixes, I've never bought more than what came with the unit.
I bought it for makeing pure carbonated water, it does it very well.
It's worth every one of the 5 stars.
Saves Money and Lugging Water
My wife and I have been wondering how we could make our own sparkling water for a long time because of the cost of buying it in the store and the inconvenience of having to carry heavy bottles of water when we go shopping.
I just bought one of these and after opening the package, I had a glass of sparkling water in about 5 minutes. I'm drinking it right now. It's great! What's more, the unit doesn't use electricity, so it's one less gadget to plug in.
My wife figured that we go through about one 1.5 liter bottle of sparkling water a day, which costs $1.29 a bottle. One canister of CO2 is included and makes about 60 liters of sparkling water. 60 liters of store-bought water would cost $51.60. I paid $90 for my unit, so after 40 days, I would be down $38.40.
A replacement cartridge costs about $13 on the company's web site. that works out to the equivalent of 32 cents per 1.5 oz bottle, a savings of 97 cents a bottle.
This means the unit would pay for itself after about 80 days. After that, I would save about $29 a month. I haven't included shipping in this calculation, so if you buy from the company's website, the savings would be slightly less. (Someone tell me if my math is wrong.)
I no longer have to lug 5 bottles of sparkling water from the grocery store. This alone would be worth the price of admission.
Totally satisfied with the machine-learn from me.
My wife drinks several liters of seltzer a day. We buy the kind with all natural flavoring. You can imagine how many bottles we buy a week and have to carry out to the car and then into the house. Once they are empty I found myself filling a 40-gallon recycling bin with the bottles, every week! I searched OnlineShopDealer knowing that there would be a soda maker for sale. The Sodastream brand had the best reviews. I also saw the machine for sale in a high-end shop in Roanoke, VA. When I returned home I immediately ordered a basic kit that included two seltzer bottles and the filling machine. I was not interested in their artificial flavorings. The machine is fairly well built but it is not commercial grade. You have to use common sense and handle it like it is made of plastic...which it is. The kit comes with two plastic bottles and a charged cylinder of CO2 gas. The bottles get filled with water and then screw into the filling machine. The bottles are made of sturdy plastic with a sealed cap to help retain the gas once you charge the bottle. The threads are custom-made for the machine. You can't use your regular soda bottles on the Sodastream. The CO2 cylinder is also fitted with a custom thread pattern exclusive to the Sodastream device. Here is where you should pay careful attention!
It works best to chill the bottles of water before you charge them with gas. Sometimes I even put them in the freezer for 30 min before charging. Cold water will hold more gas and you'll get a better seltzer. To charge the bottle just screw it into the machine and hold the charge button down. You'll see the bubbles rise in the bottle. The machine has a pressure system that buzzes when you have put enough in the bottle. Some people jump when the buzz sounds but you get used to it. I usually charge twice to get a full fizz. Once charged remove the bottle and put the cap on. At this point the seltzer is unflavored. Mix it into a glass of juice or whatever you want. I choose to refill the store-bought seltzer bottles. I use a funnel and SLOWLY pour in the seltzer so as NOT to drive off the fizz through agitation. Like pouring beer I guess. I then add natural fruit flavorings that can be found on OnlineShopDealer. Right now I an using a concentrated raspberry juice and a powdered lemon-lime flavoring. I put these flavored bottles in the fridge and then refill the charging bottles because my wife will chug down the two I just made in no time! The machine works flawlessly. But wait. There is more.
Let me teach you about CO2 and refills. Many people ask about self-refilling of the gas cylinder. For most just follow the instructions for getting a refill through the mail or locally through a Sodrastream dealer. I, however, purchased a kit that allows me to refill my own Sodastream cylinders at home. Is this for you? Probably not if you have to ask. To do it I replaced the custom brass threads on the cylinder with a brass adapter that came with the self-fill kit.This removes the Sodrastream "anti-fill" booby trap. The tricky Sodastream booby trap just makes it slow to charge at home. This lit also allows me to screw the Sodastream bottle directly to a 10 or 20 pound bulk CO2 tank. I have these bottles already for paintball refills and also portable tire refilling. Simply attach the Sodastream cylinder to the larger cylinder. Then, turn the larger tank UPSIDE Down so LIQUID CO2 flows into the Sodastream cylinder. When I hear the "hiss" of the flow stop I flip the tank back over, close the vale, unscrew the Sodastream cylinder and I am good to go. If you don't understand what I am describing you probably don't want to get this involved with self-recharging. You can't over-fill the Sodastream cylinder with these little 10 and 20 pound gas cylinders. You don't need to weight them to see how much they are filled. And don't ever believe there is such a thing as human grade carbon dioxide. I work in a lab and have been working with gasses for over 20 years. In the old days people worried about cross-contamination because some gas cylinders were filled with a variety of gasses. Today that just won't happen. If you own the refill tank and always get it refilled it with carbon dioxide at the beer distributor or welding shop, it will always have CO2 in it. Obviously. Plus the valves on CO2 tanks pretty much exclude you from accidentally filling it with Saran gas or something like that. It costs me around $12.00 to get my refill tank charged. I can fill a LOT of Sodastream tanks with my refill tank. And I can do it whenever I want. But again,if you don't know how to handle gas, just go with the Sodastream system of refilling.
In conclusion I love the Sodastream system. I have used it for a number of months and have had NO problems. Go for it and you will not be disappointed.
Simple, Convenient--and Eventually, You'll Save Money
By Bill Marsano. Americans spend $15 billion a year on bottled water alone and $73.9 billion on soft drinks. The cost is astronomical and so is the quantity of waste. A partial solution is offered by the Sodastream home (and bar) carbonation device. The Sodastream is a simple and effective device that carbonates tap water (or bottled water, if you prefer), resulting in seltzer water or club soda for peanuts per liter--and no waste. And you can add flavored syrups to make your own soda. Almost any flavor you can think of is offered by Sodastream: Dr. Pete and Energy Drink are Sodastream's version of Dr. Pepper and Red Bull, respectively. Crystal Lite and KoolAid are also available, along with innumerable fruit flavors. And there are other excellent syrup brands on the market, such as Amoretti and Torani. I'm interested mainly in seltzer water for my home bar and as a table water, and I find that Sodastream seltzer costs me 35 cents a liter (I kept a record of each bottle made) while the cheapest stuff at my corner store is 99 cents a liter. I use about 3 liters a week, so I expect to be ahead on the cost in two years. Using the thing is a breeze: screw the carbonator cylinder into the back of the unit. Fill the bottle provided with cold water and screw it into the front. Press the button on top three times and bingo--you've got a liter of seltzer (or soda if you add flavored syrup). When you run out of gas, simply trade in the old cylinder for a new one (you'll save a bundle). So to me this is a five-star device: it works easily and well and saves me money. Now before writing a new review (and I've posted more than 100 on OnlineShopDealer) I always read other reviews of the same item. And having used my unit for three months now with no complaints, I'm more than a little surprised at some of the negative reviews I've seen. Most seem to be a little hysterical; many seem to be by people who are somehow in-capable of using this extremely simple device (one of them claims to be an engineer!). Some complain about having to trade in the empty cylinder. Frankly, I'm astonished: as with almost everything else (your car, your food, for example), you have to go get more when you run out, right? And the trade-in is simple enough, especially when it brings a steep discount. So those complaints are nonsense. Another reviewer complains that it's HARD to get more gas. OK, if you live absolutely nowhere near a Sam's Club, Costco, Williams-Sonoma, WalMart, Target, Sur la Table, Macy's, Staples, Kohl's, Sears, Shopko, Weg-man's, Office Depot, Crate & Barrel, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, J.C. Penney, P.C. Richard and almost a dozen other chains, then you might have a problem. But if not, not. My favorite complaint was from a guy who sees a dark plot in the fact that all of those retailers DO carry replacement cylinders: He says they do it to lure people into their stores! Imagine that: stocking products so customers will come and buy them! My recommendation is that you buy a Sodastream for its convenience, economy and eco-friendliness, use it with pleasure, and read the sillier reviews for their entertainment value.--Bill Marsano, an award-winning writer on wine, spirits and travel, blogs at pouredwithpleasure.com.
Great for soda lovers who want to experiment with flavors
- Very easy to make carbonated water with or without flavors. Just fill the bottle, screw in to the maker, and press a button a few times.
- Lots of potential for experimentation. Add a squeeze of juice and you have a bottle of flavored water.
- Starter kit is a good value way to try out a lot of flavors
- Only one bottle included
- Recharging the CO2 is not much cheaper than just buying soda
I ordered this kit with 2 cylinders for Christmas for my 15, 17, and 22 year old sons to have some fun with. It has been in daily use so far and we are very entertained by it. I personally am not too focused on the cost to benefit ratio but it is cheaper than many other drink items and other forms of family entertainment, for sure.
The product is incredibly easy to use. Fill a supplied polycarbonate bottle with tap water, chill (recommended), screw it in to the machine, press the button, done. You do have a lot of control over how much carbonation you impart on the beverage. I dont know what would happen if you kept pressing the button, but we like 4-5 "beeps" worth of fiz.
The drink mixes are interested, especially if you are open minded, but do taste different than some cans of similary named sodas in the stores. The sugar used is Sucrose, not high fructose corn syrup like in the store brands. that in itself gives a different flavor. there are so many flavors, you are sure to find one you like. I like the lemonade and the energy drink flavors so far.
The manufacterer warns you NOT to re-carbonate beverages with the flavor already in it. However, we have found that this works fine. Just watch for bubbling up as you release the pressure. it seems to work fine.
We are fairly experimental here. We have carbonated all kinds of things already. We carbonated fruit punch from the refrigerator section at the grocery store. It is great! We carbonated a sweet white wine and it tasted like champagne- kind of in between brut and asti. Red wine was a bit bizarre. We used some ginger beer concentrate (the kind you use for making soda with yeast- the old fashioned way)- and added some cayenne pepper- it was interesting. And tonight we carbonated Chocolate Milk. It is very interesting!!! Just be careful about not letting the bottle bubble up when you release the pressure, and of course keep it clean.
So, we are having a great time with it.