The Best Soda Maker

If you drink a lot of seltzer and are tired of wasting plastic bottle after plastic bottle from the grocery store, you should get the Mastrad Purefizz. It’s simple to use, easy to clean, and made the best-tasting fizzy water we tested, almost beating our store-bought control.

Last Updated: April 22, 2014
The Mastrad Purefizz is available again, so we've moved it back to our top recommendation with the Sodastream Jet as an alternative pick.
Expand Previous Updates
April 10, 2014: Added the Mastrad Purefizz as a secondary recommendation. It's one of our favorite soda makers, but it's not in stock on Amazon very often.
April 9, 2014: Since our previous pick, the Mastrad Purefizz, has been taken off the market, we are recommending the Sodastream Jet in its place (even though it's not quite as good).
March 24, 2014: The Purefizz is currently unavailable on Amazon and Mastrad's own site. After speaking with Mastrad customer service, it's not clear when it will be back in stock. We don't like any of the alternative soda makers, so our suggestion is to sit tight until it's available again.

We spent more than 30 hours researching dozens of home soda makers, testing five models hands-on and even building our own machine (we’ll show you how later) before settling on the Purefizz. Soda machines like Sodastream’s expansive line of models are tempting, but ultimately we decided you’re better off with a soda siphon. They’re no harder to use, take up less space, and, most importantly, they won’t lock you into any proprietary, expensive CO2 cartridges.

But if our main pick is sold out—as it was for a short time this spring—the Sodastream Jet is a good alternative. The soda water it makes isn’t as tasty as that of the Purefizz, but it’s decent. But the Jet is simple to use and has a (proprietary) CO2 tank that lasts for about 40-60 liters, making it one of the most eco-friendly options.

How we picked

The Purefizz, Isi, and Sodastream (left to right).

The Purefizz, Isi, and Sodastream (left to right).

Despite their resurgence in popularity (thanks to Sodastream), there’s just not much good information about home carbonation solutions. What little that does exist tends to be in the form of reviews for various Sodastream machines; the company seems to have cornered the market. Up-to-date comparative reviews were virtually nonexistent, so it quickly became clear that we’d have to do our own testing.

In order to figure out what was worth looking at, we first turned to the many out-of-date reviews done by various publications. Cook’s Illustrated’s round-up ranked the iSi Twist ‘n’ Sparkle at the top (which was later recalled), alongside Sodastream’s very expensive Penguin model. The Wall Street Journal did a taste-test with the sommelier at Le Bernardin, but we found their picks to be either unavailable, very expensive, or poorly reviewed elsewhere. Consumer Reports’ 2006 review is too outdated to be useful, and most of the products are no longer available or very difficult to acquire.

We eliminated all of the soda makers that were hard to find—many were no longer sold in the US or have disappeared from production entirely. Unfortunately, Sodastream is the only company making proper soda machines. Cuisinart’s entry into the field, the SMS-201, has remarkably terrible reviews, and it appears the well-reviewed Primo Flavorstation is in the middle of being discontinued (probably due to their acquisition by Cuisinart last year).

We eliminated soda siphon brands like Mosa and Whip-It! due to poor reviews and mediocre availability. Plus, the Mosa appears to be an almost direct knockoff of the iSi siphon, only with less-enthusiastic user reviews.

In the end, we taste-tested the outputs of four off-the-shelf siphons and machines (the Purefizz, the Sodastream Jet, the iSi Soda Siphon, and the SodaSparkle). We also tested one DIY solution, using a bottle of store-bought seltzer as the control. Results ranged from ‘meh’ to ‘acceptable’ with only one exception, the excellent Mastrad Purefizz.

Our pick

The Mastrad PureFizz is simple to use, easy to clean, and makes the best-tasting fizzy water of anything we tested.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.
The best soda maker was the Mastrad Purefizz soda siphon. At $80, it outperformed the far more expensive Sodastream Source, easily making the most consistently delicious seltzer of all the machines we tested. Plus, it’s easy to clean and dishwasher friendly. And unlike other ones we tested, the warranty doesn’t limit you to water or pre-approved mixes.

At $80, it outperformed the far more expensive Sodastream Source, easily making the most consistently delicious seltzer of all the machines we tested.
You can use the Purefizz to carbonate anything. Things I carbonated: orange juice. Wine. (And together, in the mimosa recipe that comes with the siphon!) Gin. Drinks with chunks of fruit in them. 90% of the time, it worked just like I was using water; every once in a while, it was a little extra fizzy, but there was nothing opening it over a sink wouldn’t fix. Yes, you’ll find hacks online to use the Sodastream and other machines to carbonate all sorts of liquids, but in a lot of cases, it will void your warranty. The Purefizz encourages you to use it to carbonate whatever you can think of and will do it exceptionally well.

The Purefizz consistently produced sharper, tinglier, and brighter seltzer that was the overwhelming favorite amongst taste testers (besides the store-bought control). One person said the taste was “consistent—almost like factory-produced seltzer,” and another said it was “so good” and “kept its effervescence, even in your throat,” unlike some others, which seemed to go flat seconds after they touched your tongue.

I turned to Andrew Schloss, the author of home-soda recipe book Homemade Soda, to find out why people overwhelmingly prefer the stronger stuff. He explained that  “The main difference is the texture of the bubbles. People are used to pretty intense carbonation—high intensity, little bubbles.” He went on to explain that people expect a bit of brightness (acidity) in their beverages: “Carbon dioxide is sour, so there’s a little bit of that taste. The more something is carbonated, the brighter it tastes. That’s why [flat soda tastes worse]; it’s because it’s missing an acidic quality.”

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $31.
You'll need some soda chargers for the Purefizz to work. We like these, but any 8-gram soda chargers should work.
The only way to get that intense carbonation is more pressure, which explains why the Purefizz’s smaller 0.75-liter capacity actually works to its advantage. If you have the same amount of gas in a smaller amount of liquid, the resulting concoction will be much more concentrated (and thus have smaller, more intense bubbles and a brighter flavor). Machines and siphons with bigger carafes, like the 1-liter Sodastream or 1.2-liter SodaSparkle, produced more dilute seltzer with larger, flatter-tasting bubbles. You’d have to use two soda chargers to get the same level of carbonation as the Purefizz. Its small size also means it’s easy to store, and it won’t take up much space in your kitchen, unlike the bulkier Sodastream machines.

Great taste aside, the Purefizz has a lot of other things going for it.
Great taste aside, the Purefizz has a lot of other things going for it. First, it was the easiest to use: just insert the CO2 cartridge into the provided slot and twist. Shake for 20 seconds, push the pressure valve to release the excess gas, and voila—seltzer, ready to pour. There’s no tricky maneuvering to get the CO2 canister to fit into a tiny hole, and no handle that sprays the carbonated water to and fro about your kitchen.  I also appreciated the included pressure release valve, which drastically reduced the number of spills and overflows compared to competitors (although it is a bit loud and will probably scare your cats). None of the other machines offered anything similar. Finally, a plastic o-ring and sturdy threading helped ensure the cap stayed on securely and kept seltzer fizzier for longer—I often notice my Purefizz soda is still bubbling 30 minutes or an hour after serving. Sodastream soda often went flat in fewer than 30 minutes.

We aren’t the only ones who like it: The Kitchn praised its versatility, and Donna Currie at Serious Eats said it was “a portable, self-contained device that doesn’t take a whole lot of space. And I got a good amount of carbonation in everything I’ve tried so far.” Julie Lasky at the New York Times found it didn’t produce enough carbonation, which we disagree with—this could possibly be the result of not using chilled water. As with all carbonation systems, it works best with very cold water. Chef Mary Moran said “The water was incredibly fizzy, delicious tasting and very easy to make” at the Washington Times.

It is a new addition to the market, and with that in mind, we can’t speak to its long-term durability. But I will say that I’ve had my Purefizz for well over three months and have yet to encounter any difficulties.

If the Purefizz is sold out?

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $69.
Not as tasty as the Purefizz and a little more annoying to use, but a good alternative if you can't find our main pick.
While the Purefizz is currently in stock on Mastrad’s website, there have been availability problems in the past, leading to it being sold out for long stretches of time. If that’s the case, we recommend picking up the Sodastream Jet, which costs $79 at Amazon. No, the soda it makes isn’t as delicious as the Purefizz’s, but it’s simple to use, makes decent-tasting seltzer water, has a CO2 tank that lasts for about 40-60 liters, and is one of the most eco-friendly options.

It does lock you into Sodastream’s proprietary CO2 system, which will require a trip to Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, or another of the big box stores that are authorized refill centers whenever your machine runs out. That’s a hassle, and the canisters—which run about $15—can add up in cost quickly. But it’s nice not to think about your CO2, unlike with soda siphons, which require new 8-gram cartridges every time you charge them. And assuming each store reuses every CO2 canister, it’s very eco-friendly.

Ultimately, though, the Purefizz soda tastes significantly better. It’s easy to use and store and the 8-gram cartridges are easy to find. Assuming it’s in stock, it will always be a better pick than the Sodastream.

A more environmentally-friendly DIY option

DIY_purefizz_isi_sodasparkle_sodastream

The DIY option is on the left.

The main problem we have with the Purefizz is that, like all siphons, it’s not the most environmentally friendly option because it uses disposable (recyclable) steel CO2 canisters. We spoke with Jeremy Faludi, a sustainable design strategist and researcher who has taught green design at Stanford, about the environmental impact of these steel cartridges versus disposable aluminum cans and plastic bottles. He concluded that the steel cartridges are marginally less environmentally destructive because they’re easier to recycle.

Enter the build-it-yourself option, which is refillable and fully repairable.
That might be good enough for most people, but it’s not if you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint. The problem is that store-bought options with refillable CO2 tanks (like the Sodastream) simply don’t produce quality seltzer—and since in some cases you drop off the CO2 canister at the store to be refilled and reused by another customer, you don’t always know what will happen to it at the end of its life. Enter the build-it-yourself option, which is refillable and fully repairable.

Using instructions from our project manager, John Mahoney, I built my own soda machine using parts bought on Amazon and a CO2 canister rented from a welding shop. This method certainly requires a lot of tweaking: We had trouble getting usable soda from the machine, and it took a lot of fiddling with the psi level to get anything resembling the quality of the Purefizz (and even then, the quality was still drastically inferior; it barely fizzed and went flat quickly).

But your results can, and will, vary, if you’re willing to take the time to tinker. And if you’re really, really serious about reducing your environmental impact without sacrificing your seltzer habit, it’s really the only option. A five or even ten-pound CO2 tank will last you forever. You’ll find lots of different sets of instructions on the web—here and here are two more. It’s more upkeep and work, but it can be a fun experiment and will go a long way towards reducing your eco-impact.

The competition

I initially had high hopes for the SodaSparkle, which looked like it might be a suitable replacement for the recalled iSi Twist ‘n’ Sparkle. However, it didn’t work with generic 8-gram CO2 cartridges and ultimately produced a weak fizz. It looks like the company is distributed and branded stateside by Cuisinart, but we couldn’t find any evidence or support on the website. Ultimately, the Purefizz beats it on taste alone.

The iSi Soda Siphon is ultimately better suited for bar use. Instead of untwisting the lid to pour out your soda, it uses a nozzle to spray it out—often wildly, all over the kitchen. The soda itself is flat, not fizzy—some reviewers say you can use two chargers to get more carbonation, but that’s more wasteful and requires extra effort that the Mastrad doesn’t.

The Mosa Soda Siphon got decent marks from Wall Street Journal, but reviewers say the soda tends to be flat—just like the iSi, which looks to be based on a similar design.

There are a lot of bad user reviews for the Liss siphon, many complaining of leakage. It also has the same, finicky nozzle spray structure as the Mosa and the iSi, which means you should pass.

What makes a good soda maker anyway?

So those are our picks for the best home carbonators, but if you want to shop around, it helps to know what to look for.

There are two good ways to make soda at home: A soda machine (like the Sodastream) where the entire process is automated by pushing a button, or a siphon, which requires a small CO2 canister. At their cores, both work the same way—using pressure to add carbon dioxide to water, creating the little fizzy bubbles that make soda water taste so delicious.

You want a siphon. Soda machines are tempting…but the soda they make isn’t as tasty…
You want a siphon. Soda machines are tempting, because they’re dead simple to use and don’t require using a new cartridge every liter, but the soda they make isn’t as tasty and they’ll trap you into proprietary CO2 cartridges that need to be refilled in-store. Plus, high-quality soda machines can easily run up to and above $150; there’s no need to spend more than $80 on a siphon.

A good siphon needs a few things. First, it needs to be easily cleaned, especially if you’re using it to carbonate fruit juices or alcohol, which can be sticky. That means it should break down into parts: a dishwasher-safe canister and two caps, one that fits the charger for carbonation and one for storage.

It needs to hold enough water for a few drinks without holding so much water that two CO2 cartridges are necessary. We tested machines that held between 0.75 and 1.2 liters, and we found that the smaller siphons were better able to straddle the line between high carbonation and sufficient capacity.

It should also be simple to use. To get the CO2 from the cartridge into the water, the bottom of the cartridge must be pierced by a tiny spike. The best siphons require placing the cartridge into a plastic holder, which is then screwed into the lid, pierced by the spike, and released into the liquid below. Getting the soda out shouldn’t be complicated, either; some, like the iSi Soda Siphon, use a handle to spray the soda out of the lid in a thin stream, much like a bartender might use. This ostensibly keeps the water carbonated for longer, and it might be great for the bar, perhaps, but the stream is too strong and often ended up spraying all over my kitchen during testing. A carafe you can simply pour water out of is a much simpler, and we noticed no drop in soda quality.

When you’re using high pressure to carbonate anything, whether it be water or alcohol or fruit juice, safety is of the utmost importance. The iSi Twist ‘n Sparkle, one of the most frequently-referenced models in early research, was recalled in 2012 for having a funny tendency to explode. You’ll find models with aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, and, in the expensive Sodastream models, glass carafes. Used properly, all of these should be safe, but steel and aluminum models provide an extra level of security. The cap does need to be attached securely, though, with strong threading and a plastic ring that prevents excess carbonation from forcing the top off and spraying all over your kitchen.

The economics of soda

Getting your own home soda maker might make environmental sense, but when it comes to economic benefits, the benefit over storebought isn’t as strong. But it still comes out ahead—buying 100 one-liter bottles of seltzer from the store is a pretty simple calculation, so you know it costs anywhere between $100 and $200, depending on where you live and what store you’re buying from.

But to make seltzer at home, you’ll have to get your CO2 from somewhere—either small, 8-gram steel canisters, which cost about $97 (with shipping) for 300 (available in smaller-but-more-expensive quantities as well) or a larger Sodastream canister, which costs $15 to refill at most big-box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples and Target. Sodastream’s canister is supposed to last 60 liters, but I’ve found—and Amazon commenters back me up—that if you like your soda anything more than lightly carbonated, it’s closer to 40 liters.

In addition to the initial investment in the machine itself, Sodastream costs about 37 cents per liter, coming out even with liter bottles from the store after about 125 liters—or about 4 months of use, if you drink one liter a day. The Purefizz takes a little longer to make the money back—about 220 liters or 7 months. But think of the tradeoffs—that’s 220 plastic bottles you aren’t lugging home from the store, storing in your home, or piling up in the bin. Sure, it takes a little longer to even out than the Sodastream, but you aren’t locked into a proprietary CO2 system. And the Purefizz just tastes a lot better.

(Aluminum cans cost about $1.42 per liter, giving the Purefizz an instant economical advantage, coming even after about 130 liters.)

Wrapping it up

If you’re a regular soda drinker who wants something simple, safe and delicious, Mastrad’s Purefizz is the best choice. Unlike Sodastream and other soda makers, the Purefizz lets you carbonate anything you want from wine to juice without voiding the warranty. There’s no need to spend more on the Sodastream, which locks you into their proprietary system. The Purefizz is the simplest option out there—and thus the best.

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Sources

  1. Andrew Schloss, Author of Homemade Soda, Interview
  2. Home Seltzer Makers, Cook's Illustrated, May 1, 2010
  3. Kristen Miglore, WSJ Test Kitchen: Seltzer Makers, The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2010
  4. Donna Currie, Gadgets: PureFizz Soda Maker, Serious Eats, August 15, 2013
  5. Julie Lasky, A Sleek Way to Add Fizz, but Not Much, The New York Times, July 31, 2013
  6. Mary Moran, Product Review: Purefizz carbonated beverage maker, The Washington Times, August 23, 2013
  • bobchadwick

    I was really interested in the DIY option, but out of laziness, I just bought this: http://www.kegconnection.com/soda-carbonating-kits/. It couldn’t have been easier to set up. I can’t imagine the how the Purefizz could make stronger seltzer than what I’m able to make.

    Of course, I understand why most people wouldn’t want a big tank in their kitchen and they wouldn’t want to make the trek out to their city’s industrial hinterlands every time they needed a CO2 refill.

    • Jin

      Bob, I have been thinking on and off about the DIY option for a while now, but putting it off because of all the fiddly parts you have to source. That Keg Connection regulator sounds like a great alternative. Two questions: which did you get, TapRite or Chudnow? And, what is involved in setting it up? Did you get a CO2 tank with your kit, or can you just buy one from a welding shop?

      • bobchadwick

        I don’t remember making the choice between the two, but I believe I have the Chudnow. I initially placed an order without the tank, but I canceled that and just ordered everything together. Again, laziness won out and I didn’t feel like searching around for a source for a tank. I would think you could get one from a welding shop, but I don’t have any experience with that.

        Setting it up couldn’t be simpler. The regulator comes pre-assembled, with all the hoses already attached. All you do is screw it on to the tank (the tank should come with a plastic o-ring, which you place between the regulator and tank). Dialing in the the pressure is just a matter of adjusting the screw on the front of the regulator until it’s at your desired pressure. I use about 60 PSI, which gives my soda an amazing kick.

        I should mention that I also bought one of these: http://www.kegconnection.com/soda-or-beer-carbonater-for-soda-bottle-by-liquid-bread/

      • http://www.telescreen.org Vidiot

        I also got the KegConnection kit with the Chudnow regulator (it was cheaper, and I don’t mind using a screwdriver or even a coin to adjust the pressure instead of a knob) and it was surprisingly easy. I got a cylinder separately, got it filled at a local welding-supply house for $19, and just screwed the regulator/KegConnection kit onto the cylinder with a washer and was good to go. Very easy.

      • Paul Esteves

        I also use the DIY route because I already had the equipment because of home brewing beer. I just had to buy the soda bottle to ball lock adapter.

        Do not buy a new co2 canister. Most welding supply shops will just swap out the new tank for another one. I would recomend to buy a used tank with a valid hydro test date. This way when you get it “refilled” they will just swap it out and you will never need to pay for a new hydro test.

        I’m not sure why they had issues making co2 this way. I think it’s the best option, buying co2 in bulk is much more economical than those tiny metal canisters.

        Make sure your water is as cold as possible when carbonating. Co2 absorbs better in the cold. Around 12 psi is a good setting.

  • cyber75sax

    As far as the SodaStream goes, you don’t actually have to rig the bottle to be refilled at a paintball store. You buy an adapter (about $60), and then attach it to the top of a regular paintball canister. The bottle costs about $30 initially, and about $4 each time to refill. You can fill it at any sporting goods store that refills paintball canisters.The bottle pays for itself in about a half-dozen fill-ups.

    Some complain about a weird taste or the fact that the canister isn’t “food grade,” but the taste, an oily, “machiney” taste disappears after the first fizzy bottle, and food grade, IMHO, is BS. I think the taste is just the by-product of an empty bottle being filled for the first time. This was the best investment to make for the SodaStream, and I haven’t filled a bottle any other way since I bought it last summer.

    • honkon

      I experienced the oily taste and couldn’t get it to go away. I suspect the actual paintball bottles were the culprit—I read somewhere online that you need to buy specially-cleaned ones or do it yourself. As for CO2, the stuff they use to refill paintball tanks is, by regulation, the same they use for Sodastream et al, so people shouldn’t worry about that.

    • LesE

      +1 on this. I used a new, fresh-purchased 12oz CO2 tank, and have had no oily taste issues. Refills are $3. I can’t compare my results with the other units, never tried them, but this approach has worked well for me for six months or so.

  • Gerund

    “often wildly, all over the kitchen”? I’ve owned the iSi for over two years, and I’ve never had an issue with the nozzle spraying anywhere but into my glass.

    • TKR421

      Ditto. I’ve had mine for at least two years, and I’ve never once had that problem. Also, of the dozens and dozens of bottles of seltzer I’ve made, only two or three have come up flat, and I’m nearly certain those were either a defect in the CO2 cartridge or user error. I’m also not sure what off taste the review is talking about, but maybe the reviewer’s palate is more sensitive than mine. Basically what I’m saying is, if you want good homemade seltzer from a smaller, less expensive set up than the SodaStream, the iSi Soda Siphon is the way to go.

  • honkon

    After using a Sodastream for over a year, I took the plunge and went the DIY route (I was using one $15 Sodastream refill every 10 days, which might sound expensive, but I’d use coupons, etc. to try to lower it). Once the DIY components were bought, I paid another $32 to get my 5lb CO2 tank filled (exchanged, really, but same idea), and have been using the same tank since October 2 (77 days!!), and I still have a fair amount of CO2 left in the tank.

    The DIY version isn’t as easy (you really need to use cold water and you need to shake the bottle pretty vigorously for it to work), but it’s unbelievable how much cheaper it is in the long run. Initially, I tried to calculate exactly how much DIY would cost compared to the Sodastream, but what I didn’t realize at the time is that the Sodastream is able to carbonate effectively by wasting a lot of CO2, so despite the Sodastream tank being 14.5 ounces (if my memory serves me correctly), my 5 lb. (80 oz.) tank carbonates much more, relatively speaking. That is, I thought the 80 oz. tank would be equivalent to 5.5 Sodastream tanks (80 oz./14.5 oz.), but since it’s more efficient, it lasts longer (at this point it’s equal to about 8 Sodastream refills with plenty of CO2 left).

    I’ll add that I tried the adapter for using paintball CO2 tanks, but the cost (for me, where I live) didn’t work out in my favor.

    If you drink a lot of soda water and you care about cost, DIY is the best option.

  • David Hughes

    We’ve owned a Sodastream for a few months and still haven’t worked through the first full-size recharge. The ability to carbonate other things directly rather than making my own flavors sounds interesting but for now I’m quite fine with the ‘stream.

    • Marc45

      Same here. I find the SodaStream very useful in the sense that we simply bought several extra plastic bottles, put our names on them and use the 130L large canister. We use it constantly and it lasts us 2-3 months before needing a recharge. There is no recycling needed which you can’t say about the other options. We only use it for bubbly water.

  • CriticalConsumer

    Another strike against the Sodastream is that they are manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories. So buying their products means supporting human rights abuses and international law violations. And that really leaves a bad taste!

    • ezweave

      I am really surprised that wasn’t mentioned. Their shady manufacturing past the Green Line is well documented. http://www.globalexchange.org/economicactivism/sodastream/why Terrible and unethical.

    • David G.

      This is idiotic obsession with the Palestinian Israel conflict has finally breached the world of Seltzer makers. Besides this being a forum for gadgets and not politics, do you really think you are representing the Palestinian people’s interests? Soda Stream employs Palestinians and Israelis, which I would think is a good thing.

      In addition, there are horrible, I mean HORRIBLE, human rights violations going on everywhere else in the Middle East. Yet, you think buying a non Soda Stream seltzer maker is making a difference. That’s laughable.

      • David G.

        “These people are fighting against my right to work,” said Rashid Morra, 47, a father of five, who is the head of Lipski’s packing department. “You’re not going to get peace through boycotts. You’re not going to get peace through pressure. You get peace through working together.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/world/middleeast/palestinians-work-in-west-bank-for-israeli-industry-they-oppose.html?hp

      • Jadxia

        They purposefully built in contested areas so that they could AVOID REGULATIONS. There are human rights abuses that happen because they are overlooked, and then there are companies that set out to make them happen in the name of profit. I don’t need my dollars going to support a company that willfully and knowingly puts greed before people.

        And yes, I think it does make a difference, no matter how small. When we talk about these things, and bring them to light, then collectively we do make a difference.

        I bet you don’t bother voting, either.

        • David G.

          Hi jadxia
          Per the information that I have read, the boycott was about the factory location and not any “manufactured”(pardon the pun) human rights abuses. If not, name the human rights abuses taking place . I would bet that you have clothes or other goods that were manufactured in worse circumstances. For some insight, google the Bangladesh garment industry. I argue that the outcomes for Palestinians are worse because of your actions.

          Speaking of betting, I bet you have never thought about what Palestinians want. I bet you know very little about Israel. I hope that you will become more effective at listening rather than accusing.
          Best

          • Jadxia

            *facepalm* The two are one and the same, but I will try and break this down for you. By building in contested land, they a) claimed to be a “Made in Israel” product, which is out-and-out BS, and I doubt you could find many Palestinians who would support this fallacy, and b) they can build the factory in a sort of hazy no-man’s land regarding regulations. Where jurisdiction is in dispute, enforcement of law is haphazard. The inference here is that they can then get away with things which otherwise they could not, anything from human rights violations, work code violations, to evasion of taxes, fees, etc.

            Yes, I’m am aware of the evils of the garment industry, which is why a good portion of my clothes are second hand. Some are designer fair-trade. I mix and match.

            Do I have goods that were manufactured in deplorable circumstances? Of course, none of us live in a bubble. But there are two important distinctions here you are failing to make. One is the importance of the item. You are comparing CLOTHES to a SODA-MAKER. Clothes are, for the most part, a necessary item to protect the body. They serve physical and social function. Unless you are a fashion-hound, you generally don’t own a bunch of superfluous clothing items. No one NEEDS a soda-maker, and I contend that unless you are a soda-junkie, or the only way you drink enough fluid is to make it effervescent and bubbly, than a soda maker is really just a happy luxury item.

            The other distinction was one of intentional harm versus harm through neglect. If I buy something without thinking about the impact it causes, and later discover that it has a negative impact, that’s through neglect. If a company dumps waste into the drinking water supply without consideration for what it does, that’s harm through neglect. That doesn’t mean it should be done, but if you (or a company) doesn’t know about it, there was not the intent to do harm. If you know you are poisoning people with toxic waste, that’s willful harm. They knew the land was contested when they built there; they did it anyway. Once you realize that harm is being done through your actions, that’s when you become responsible for them, at least to the extent that you can mitigate them in a reasonable manner.

            As for what the Palestinians think, I believe “treats us like slaves” sums it up best.
            http://electronicintifada.net/content/sodastream-treats-us-slaves-says-palestinian-factory-worker/12441

          • Jadxia

            Second article, more even-handed than the above posted, which pretty much mirrors my sentiments.
            http://972mag.com/the-cynical-exploitation-of-palestinian-workers-in-scarlett-johanssonsodastream-affair/86698/

          • David G.

            Ok, I can tell how passionate you are about this subject by your use of capitalization but that doesn’t mean you are right. In the 972mag article, the first two quotes are about the settlements, not the plant. Try not to conflate the two. The Palestinians dislike the settlements (always a point of contention and something I personally sympathize with) but it is not about Soda Stream or the factory. The third quote, is from a labor activist, not a Palestinian, who says that they are “not paying overtime, not giving sick leave or vacation leave or severance pay.” If only we could find an article which quotes actual Palestinian workers. Oh wait I can find three “even-handed” articles (just by doing a google search) that quote actual workers who *love* their job. Do you understand how you are not helping them by trying to get them fired? Especially in a place with diminishing economic opportunities. http://www.ibtimes.com/sodastream-boycott-west-bank-factory-palestinian-workers-reveal-what-they-think-about-their-employer http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/1.571948 http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/02/03/sodastream_palestinian_workers_closing_the_factory_would_hurt_them_but_that.html

          • Jadxia

            So you read nothing from the first article I posted? Or are you just ignoring that one? I’ll post it again.
            http://electronicintifada.net/content/sodastream-treats-us-slaves-says-palestinian-factory-worker/12441

          • Jadxia

            I’m also confused by your statements “the Palestinians dislike the settlements but it is not about Soda Stream or the factory.” Aren’t they the ones who settled there? It wasn’t settled by Nike or Coca-Cola or smurfs.

            And yes, the third quote was from a labor activist, at a “workers hot line” meaning that is a person who people call with complaints about unfair working conditions, yes? People who are possibly afraid to come forward because if they do, they will lose they job that they may need, but they recognize is unfair, where they are poorly treated and are being abused? Such a person, in front of a camera, might very well say they “love” that same job, if only to avoid getting canned immediately.

            I posted the third article because, as I said, it matched my sentiments. Yes, some people will lose work. Yes, that is terrible. But I also believe that if we allow occupation to continue, and turn a blind eye, the land grab will continue. So until a better solution presents itself, I consider it the lesser of two evils.

  • Edward Becerra

    The Purefizz appears to be on sale at the provided link – $59 instead of $79.

  • Ted Cabeen

    I’ve had good luck with the Fizz Giz. With the Home Station, you can use standard paintball canisters, and the base unit is portable enough to take on a vacation. The manufacturer also supports carbonating things other than water, which is nice too. URL: http://www.fizzgiz.com/ (Also available through Amazon)

  • jackbrannen

    So if I buy a Purefizz, what else do I have to buy to get it to work? Is it a specific kind of CO2 cartridge, and that’s all? The web site selling the Purefizz also mentions a “CO2 Charger.”

  • Lori S

    Thank you for this review, as I am looking into getting a siphon! One thing: I noticed that you referenced “8 oz.” soda chargers in the link above, but I believe you mean “8 gram” soda chargers instead. At least, the link to the Leland chargers was for 8 gram chargers, and they seem to be a standard size.

    • Jamie Wiebe

      oh my god yes. total brain freeze on my part. thank you!

      • Jin

        The article text still has two references to 8-oz. chargers (search for “oz.”).

  • Cory Line

    Regarding DIY soda maker: Just want to weigh in on the seemingly blah option of building your own. The main obstacles are indeed fiddling and preparation related. Though now that I’ve got the PSI regulated dialed in, I haven’t touched it in months. First, use water as cold as possible to carbonate while agitating the bottle to increase the CO2 flow and saturation. Most important though is to wait about 12-15 minutes after carbonating before opening. This may seem like a lot and a hassle but the cost savings are almost ludicrous, and if you just have two bottles going at the time, it’s an endless and seamless system. If you want to go from soda water to mineral water, this page is amazingly in depth and amazing.

    • bbum

      To add to what Cory said, when I was carbonating water in 2 liter plastic jugs, I found that it was best to carbonate the ice cold water, stick it in the fridge for a while, and then repeat. I typically had 4 or 5 bottles in cycle at any given time.

      Yes, “had”. I’ve since moved on to keeping a 5 gallon carboy full of water under pressure in my kegerator. Thus, I have carbonated water on tap all the time.

      It is fantastic.

      I’ve noted that it takes a good 3 or 4 days @ 30psi before the water has a good bit of fizz. After a week? Serious scrubbing bubble action!!

      • Cory Line

        bbum, that is such a genius idea and I’m kicking myself for not having thought of it. Do you have a “soda fountain” style dispenser on a counter or something or just out of the kegerator?

        • bbum

          I have fittings that allow the corny-keg to be hooked up to the normal beer tap. So, I’ll typically have one keg of home-brew or commercial beer on tap and, seemingly, one tap of fizzy water always on tap.

          In fact, the fittings on a corny keg are the exact same fitting as the very popular “Carbonator” top that is used to carbonate your typical 1 or 2 liter plastic bottle. Thus, I can grab the hose off the corny and quickly carbonate a 2 liter bottle of fruit infused water, if desired!

  • Jin

    Just a note on comparative costs, to make explicit the numbers given in the article:
    Vintage brand seltzer from Costco costs, last time I checked, something around 45 cents per liter.
    For ongoing CO2 costs, as noted in the article, Sodastream (assuming 40 liters per $15 recharge) is 37.5 cents per liter ($15/40L).
    For the Purefizz, it depends on what price you can get the chargers at. Prices on Amazon are ~$100 for 300 chargers or $45 for 100 (including shipping charges). If you buy 300 at once, that comes out to 44 cents per liter ($100/300 chargers * 1 charger/.75L), or 60 cents/L if you buy 100 at a time.

    So to sum up, if you take 45 cents/L as your baseline, the Sodastream is just marginally cheaper, while the Purefizz costs the same or a third more depending on how many chargers you buy at once. This is not taking into consideration the purchase price of the unit itself, or the cost of lugging hundreds of liters of water home from the store and disposing of their containers.

    • Paul Esteves

      The DIY route is much cheaper. I get 20 oz of co2 filled at a paintball shop for $5.50 (.275 cents per liter), I can get 5 pounds of co2 for $27 (.3375 cents / liter) but that way is really expensive in my area for some reason. I use to pay $17 per 5 lb -> .2125 cents per liter. Either way the DIY route is much cheaper in the long term assuming you don’t have a leak somewhere and waste all the gas.

  • sparky086

    My Uncle Charlie
    recently got an awesome twelve month old Nissan Armada SUV by working off of a
    macbook air. next page B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Evan Mangiamele

    Thanks for this article, I received a sodastream as a gift this year but was a little concerned about the size of the unit and the proprietary c02 canisters. I ended up returning it after reading this article, and just got my Purefizz yesterday. Having had both units in my home for a short time, the build quality of the purefizz is so much better, and the water/drinks it makes are fantastic. And I was able to get 100 c02 canisters and the purefizz for less than the sodastream’s price.

    Also, FYI amazon doesn’t appear to be selling it anymore, but I had no problems ordering it directly from mastrad.

  • JacqulynGertner

    It is useful for make a cold drink by soda

    http://aminomusclesite.com/

  • http://www.telescreen.org Vidiot

    Nice writeup. I made my own and wrote about its pros and cons with the Sodastream on my cocktail blog: http://www.cocktailians.com/2013/07/bubblicious.html I found doing my own setup to work surprisingly well and produce great soda. The colder the water, the fizzier it’ll get (Boyle’s Law) and especially if you purge the air and recarbonate once or twice, it’ll get really fizzy.

    And I didn’t take a side, and I don’t know if the situation has changed, but Sodastream was at least at one time facing a boycott for their manufacturing in the West Bank.

  • Vera Comment
  • notpollyanna

    Thanks! I wanted a soda maker and then I needed one (for deacidifying paper, for reals, this is what I am learning to do). I didn’t want a soda stream because of the proprietary chargers and I didn’t want to fuss with the DIY. Then you showed up and I bought a pure fizz. Yay!

  • AngelynTeller

    I want to know the tips for making the soda.
    http://biohealthgarciniacambogiablog.com/

  • pbasch

    I have been using a DIY carbonation solution like the one you describe for a few years now. I went to a home-brewing supply store in Culver City CA, and they pretty much put it together for me. The system cost about $200, and refills of CO2 cost about $15! I only refill it every eight months or so. I like SodaStream (and I commend them for employing Palestinians at the highest wages and best working conditions available in that area), and had I waited just a few months to make my system, I would probably have bought one, but they weren’t around much when I did it. I will say the SodaStream is a little easier to use, since I have to shake the bottle for a minute to get the carbonation to be absorbed. But my system is approx 100 times cheaper in the long run.

    One real problem – I have a beautiful old syphon, and I wish so much that I could hook it up to the CO2 tank to charge the water instead of using those little canisters. It would be so elegant, and I could SCHPRITZ at the table instead of just pouring the seltzer.

    Any good ways of doing that? I think it would involve machining one of the little canisters (emptying it out first) and attaching a CO2 coupling. If anyone could do that for me, I’d pay real money (i.e., low three figures).

  • Leah

    Hi I have a couple of questions. For both the iSi and the Purefizz how frequently do you need to change the CO2 cartridge? for example: will one cartridge work for a couple of liters in a row (say several people are over all drinking seltzer)? Also will you be able to use one cartridge one day and then use it again later in the week/month/etc.? How long will a full bottle stay carbonated/ is there a significant time length difference between these two devices?

    • Jamie Wiebe

      No, you can’t reuse the cartridge; you’ll need a new one for each liter.

      We found the Purefizz stayed carbonated for about 8-12 hours (overnight, generally) as long as we kept it in the fridge and tightly sealed. Much less for the iSi, which was inferior for many reasons as stated in the article.

  • Eva G.

    I agree that that the sodastream is no good.

    Recently my boyfriend found an old ISI soda siphon (from the 80s) at his grandparents house and we’ve been using it ever since. It works incredibly well. We put water in the siphon and let it cool in the fridge for a while before carbonating it and shaking it like crazy. The soda water pretty much never goes flat. It might lose some of its fizziness but we’ve never really noticed it. I’ve never had any issues with having it spray all over the kitchen – that is, as long as you aim it into your glass. I will say that we mostly use it for making cocktails and don’t drink the water on its own as often.

    I wanted to get my own new siphon (since the ISI resides at my bf’s place), so based on your suggestions I got the Mastrad over the ISI. I was excited that you could carbonate any kind of liquid. Although it works well, the water goes flat almost immediately after initially opening it. For my purposes this makes it pretty much useless because I’m not going to drink a liter of soda water within the first day of making it. I feel wasteful throwing out the flat water and having to use another cartridge every time I need soda water.

    I’m wondering though if the new ISI would have been a better choice or if their quality has maybe declined over the years. I read some reviews saying that the water starts to go flat after a few days.

    Either way I wish your review had an option for people looking for soda water that says fizzy longer as opposed to the fizziest possible water.

  • Alexander Rajan

    It’s been out of stock on both Amazon and Mastrad this week. Amazon currently has 10 available for $99 through a 3rd party vendor. Bummer, I was looking forward to ordering one soon!

  • joel

    this is out stock at both places. any ideas why? new model?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Hi Joel. These are extremely popular right now, the main company (Mastrad) is on the smaller side & is based out of France IIRC. We’re hoping to see these back in ASAP. Thanks!

    • embo66

      Amazon has them back in stock (as of 4-8-2014). Thanks to this extremely helpful article, I just ordered a Purefizz last night — for $69 under Amazon Prime. Then I paired it with 120 Leland chargers for another $40. With the warmer weather, I’ve noticed my Vintage seltzer intake has sharply increased — now consume 3-4 cans per workday ( and more on the weekends). So i’m hoping the Purefizz will be a more economical option, recycling wise, if in no other way.

      Warning about the vagaries of Amazon: Prices often changed daily; what I got for $69 yesterday is now bak up to $80 today. But their stock count increased to 15, so . . .

  • allie b

    I’m not sure Purefizz is the best choice for someone who really likes a lot of seltzer. Often in the evening I feel like filling the Purefizz up a second time, but honestly it is annoying. And with the seltzer chargers by Leland, at least, the thing sprays quite a bit. I’ve used another brand and didn’t have as much problem with spraying, but the water was also not nearly as carbonated. Has anyone else experienced these problems? Maybe this is why this product seems to be off the market.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Can’t comment on the first half of your comment, seems more like a statement of which one you prefer. However, we did touch on this in the guide. Did you try using cold water? -

      “Julie Lasky at the New York Times found it didn’t produce enough carbonation, which we disagree with—this could possibly be the result of not using chilled water. As with all carbonation systems, it works best with very cold water. Chef Mary Moran said “The water was incredibly fizzy, delicious tasting and very easy to make” at the Washington Times.”

      The main reason this is unavailable is because it’s popularity went through the roof and Mastrad & Amazon are having stock issues. Thanks for the feedback!

    • Jamie Wiebe

      Hi Allie, I’ve only had problems with spraying when I’ve filled the Purefizz up with more water than recommended (using the little white funnel provided). Otherwise, we haven’t heard any other complaints as to that problem. Sorry to hear that!

  • Corey Selman

    My Pop Old Fashioned Soda Shoppe is the lowest cost home soda maker.

  • bbbbhong

    Anyone else have rust-related issues with their PureFizz? My vessel accumulates rust spots every few days.

    • joel

      yes. i’m rather dissapointed and i still have not heard back from customer service. Did you contact them?

      • bbbbhong

        Hi – yes. It took a while, but i finally heard back from CS. They sent me a replacement after they received my original – the replacement also rusted so I requested and received a refund (after returning the replacement soda maker).

        I have a feeling the rust is due to the mineral/salt content of the filtered tap water I’ve been using reacting with the metal – I assume that I wouldn’t have this problem if the vessel were glass or plastic.

        oh well. good luck with customer support – just be a bit patient as they seem to be wearing a lot of hats at the LA office

        • joel

          Thanks for the info. Did you have to contact them multiple times?

        • http://mo.rley.co/ morley

          For what it’s worth, I’ve had rust issues too and I exclusively use filtered water (ZeroWater-filtered and -tested no less, so there probably isn’t any mineral/salt content to speak of).

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We started talking to Mastrad about this shortly after you mentioned rust showing up, and they want to replace models for those affected. If you could reach out to me here with your basic info I can forward it along to them and get the ball rolling. Thank you!

  • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

    Yep we’re aware. Thanks!

  • Eric Taub
    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Please don’t spread FUD. It’s in stock and available. 4.5/5 rating as well.

  • joel

    I’ve owned the mastrad purefizz for 6 weeks and use it almost daily for mostly carbonated water. I love it, it’s easy and it works great. Unfortunately, I noticed some rust forming on the bottom of my container. I’ve contacted Mastrad but I’ve yet to hear back. Has anyone else noticed this after extended use?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Hi Joel. We’ve been in touch with Mastrad regarding this & they are very eager to replace models for our readers that have experienced any rust issues. If you could reach out to me here – I can forward your info along to them and get you a new one. Thanks!