Sodastream: pursuing fizzy!

This past weekend I ran into a couple of neighbors on the street, and we stumbled into talking about Sodastream. As we were speaking, she remarked, “you should do a blog on this!” So, here you go. This one’s for you!

Sodastream is one of those products I didn’t know I needed until I saw it working in action. About ten years ago I was at a friend’s house, and he asked: “would you like still or sparkling water?” Amused, I said, sparkling. He pulled some water out of the fridge, dropped it into the Sodastream bottle, and carbonated it right away!

It took me another few years before I purchased mine. Now Sodastream is a regular part of my kitchen. It’s a well-designed product that’s held up over the years with fairly regular use. Sodastream consists of four major components: The Sodastream unit, the bottle, the carbonation cylinder, and the flavoring. I’m going to add a fifth: Bed Bath and Beyond. Their prolific coupons make owning a Sodastream a touch cheaper.

The Sodastream Unit

The Sodastream unit costs about $100 to get started. The unit package includes the unit itself, one 60L cylinder, and a 1 L soda bottle. The Sodastream unit has a small battery inside of it that runs a timer noting the water’s carbonation level. As the CO2 cylinder runs out of CO2, the timer becomes significantly less accurate.

Every few years, Sodastream changes up the unit’s industrial design, but they are all functionally the same. On one side of the unit is the water bottle, and the other side is the CO2 cylinder. My Sodastream is very boxy. Round now is in vogue at Sodastream this year.

The CO2 cylinder

Sodastream originally had two sizes for their CO2 cylinder: 60L and 130L. Sodastream has discontinued the 130L size. For about a year, I just used the included CO2 cylinder. Each CO2 cylinder generates plenty of soda using the 1 stop or 2 stop settings. As a more aggressively used 3 stops, the CO2 cylinder deflated reasonably quickly.

When the CO2 cartridge runs out, I exchange it at bed bath and beyond. New, each cartridge costs about $30. You can exchange a used cylinder for a new one for about $15.

ProTip: Having an extra cartridge has proved valuable. I can exchange a cartridge while I have plenty of CO2 left in the reserve cartridge.

The Bottle

Sodastream makes 1L and 0.5L bottles. The kit comes with 1 1L bottle. As a single soda drinker, the 1L bottle is a touch too big and the 0.5L bottle a touch too small. With multiple people, the 1L bottle is a clear win.
Warning: I find that the 0.5L bottle uses more CO2. I probably waste some carbonation thinking I’m carbonating the 1L bottle. I have moved from the 0.5L bottle to the 1L bottle for this reason.

Each Sodastream bottle also has an expiry date on it. Since the Sodastream unit does put considerable pressure on the bottle, I consider the expiry date something worth heeding. I don’t want to be beside the thing when the bottle explodes due to a stress fracture.

Watch: most of the older Sodastream bottles are not dishwasher safe. The most recent bottle I bought in December 2020 indicates it is dishwasher safe. Make sure to check the notation on yours. Non-dishwasher safe bottles may degrade more quickly with detergent and heat.

The Flavorings

The flavorings are where Sodastream makes its money. A few years ago, Sodastream changed its packaging and pricing to increase the profit margins by a significant percentage. Before the price increase, Sodastream felt like a good deal. With more expensive flavorings, the value proposition drops slightly, but the convenience factor remains the same.

Sodastream offers two kinds of flavorings: sodas and flavored waters. The soda flavors range in taste from supermarket soda to near the name brand depending on the offering. Sodastream covers all of the major soda types: soda, Dr. Pepper, Lemon Lime, orange, and ginger ale in both diet and full sugar strength. Sodastream also offers flavorings to approximate Bubly or La Croix.

I find that I use “lightly sweetened” for the soda equivalents (extending my range). I find that the flavored water flavorings need significantly more to get a strong flavor kickback. Here in Northern California, we are blessed with citrus trees all over the neighborhood. Neighbors will often unload oranges and lemons. Rather than use the Sodastream flavorings, I squeeze some homegrown lemon or orange into the sparkling water.

Watch: Sodastream advises to carbonate first, flavor second. Don’t carbonate flavored soda water. When I’ve done the reverse, carbonated soda overwhelms the Sodastream and pours out all over the counter. It’s not a hot mess, but definitely a cold mess.

I’d also recommend putting a picture of water in the fridge, so cold water is always on hand. I find that coldwater carbonates better for those who like significantly more tingle in their throat.

So what about Bed Bath & Beyond?

Friends never let friends buy anything at full price at Bed Bath & Beyond. Their prolific coupon culture makes owning a Sodastream even more cost-effective. Bed Bath & Beyond has two coupons: 20% off one item and $5 off a $15 purchase. Inflation has recently kicked that coupon up to $10 off a $30 purchase.

Use the 20% off coupon on the Sodastream unit itself. If you purchase one, keep an eye on the $5 off a $15 purchase as those net you about 30% off. These coupons can be used on flavorings as well as CO2 cylinder exchanges. When coupons come in the mail every month, I just cut them out and stick them in my glove box, so I’ve always got them in the car.

Bed Bath & Beyond generally honors expired coupons and allows up to five coupons per transaction. Nobody wants to be stuck behind the coupon guy in a long line. Go with 20% off on the main unit and use the $5 for $15 on a cylinder exchange or three flavor refills or the $10 for $30 on a new cylinder or six flavor bottles.
On Black Friday, everything is 20% off anyway. Just make one swoop and be done with it for the year!

All in all, I’m happy with my Sodastream. It’s been a great product over the past five or so years. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments!

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