The Best Soda Maker for You: SodaStream vs. iSi
Getty We're not exactly sure why bubbles make water so much more fun to drink, but we do know that we're tired of dropping tons of cash for the privilege of lugging heavy containers of sparkling water home from the supermarket. To fix this problem, we tested two models of sodas makers from the two biggest brands to help you decide which one to get.
SodaStream vs. ISI Twist 'n Sparkle
First, the similarities. Both brands:
--Make machines that are small enough that they shouldn't contribute in a big way to kitchen clutter.
--Will save you a ton of money if you choose them over schlepping to that aforementioned grocery store.
--Will leave you with a clean conscience. Even when you account for disposing each brand's (recyclable) carbonators, using a soda maker creates way less waste than if you keep pledging allegiance to individual plastic bottles.
SodaStreamThe Basics: The SodaStream took a mere three minutes to set up. (Just watch out for the alarming buzzing sound when you use the carbonator! The directions specified that it'd be loud, but the noise still startled our intrepid editors.)
Each SodaStream's carbonator makes 60 liters (or bottles) of water. You can exchange two carbonators for $29.99, or buy two new ones for $59.99 on SodasStreamUsa.com.
Pro: You can customize your drinks to make them as fizzy as your little heart desires.
Con: If you want to jazz up the taste of your water, SodaStream's proprietary soda mixes are limiting at best and bad tasting at worst. You can find better syrups to add -- or even make your own. But you can't use the SodaStream with liquids other than water, like juice or iced tea.
There are a lot of different kinds of SodaStreams to choose from, ranging in price from $80 to $199. While variety can sometimes be an asset, we were unclear about the major differences between the models. One was advertised as making "premium" sparkling water. Sounds like a hustle to us. We think the main difference is design -- pricier models enable you to serve up your water in a prettier carafe.
iSi Twist 'n SparkleThe Basics: Set up was fast, intuitive and ... quieter. Carbonators cost $9.99 for a pack of 10 on TwistNSparkle.com.
Pros: At $49.99, this gadget is totally affordable.
You can carbonate everything! Juice, iced tea, cocktails... Let your inner mixologist emerge.
Cons: Chargers are single use, which means you have to go to the trouble of switching them out about every time you make a new bottle.
You can't customize your bubbles. Alas.
The Bottom Line
The SodaStream and Twist 'n Sparkle both produce great bubbles, and both will save you a lot of money and hassle compared to loading up on old school sparkling water bottles. The choice comes down to whether or not you care about customizing your bubbles, whether it's more annoying to exchange your filters with their company or install them every time you make a new bottle of water, and how invested you are in carbonating liquids besides water.
If you want to check both brands out in person, check them out at Williams-Sonoma!