Seltzer turns every meal into a fancy occasion. A glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon could be your palette cleanser at dinner; add a bit of syrup, and you might just be able to ween off sugary soft drinks. All of this can be done at home, with a soda maker on the kitchen countertop. This manual unit easily converts most liquids into a bubbly carbonated beverage, from orange juice to fresh water.
"We drink flat beverages throughout the day, such as coffee, tea and juices, so sparkling water feels like a celebration in the mouth," said Allison Poerner, the first water sommelier in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region and an executive chef in Dubai. "Contrary to popular belief, (unflavoured) sparkling water is not bad for your health nor your teeth."
Poerner firmly believes water deserves an elevated place on the table, as she dedicates her time to creating water menus for restaurants and hosting food and water pairings. "Spicy dishes, like curry and chicken tikka, go well with carbonated water because the bubbles open up the pores in your tongue and cheek, enhancing the flavour and reducing the heat," she told Gulf News.
A soda maker is a fantastic summertime appliance to have around. When warm days call for a refreshing drink of something cold and fizzy, kids can recreate or DIY their favourite flavours. There's a plethora of cooling beverages to be had, from ice cream float to cherry soda, as long as you have a carbonated base to work with.
"Carbonation can come in different forms - light, classic and bold. What happens is that carbon dioxide is infused into flat water, but the quality of your water will determine the quality of the carbonation," explained Poerner, who advises adding fizz to naturally sourced mineral water.
Mineral water can be pricey, so an affordable alternative could be filtered water. According to Poerner, the purer your base water, the longer the bubbles will last. Any additives you pour in later on, like flavours and syrups, can also affect the carbonation intensity to an extent.
Soda makers have a small footprint, comparable to that of a single-serve coffee machine. The best part? You don't need electricity or battery to operate one. All units come with a detachable bottle where your cold drink goes, while some manufacturers also offer your first canister of carbon dioxide gas for free. Once the bottle is clicked in, the soda maker begins its process of carbonation, saturating the contents with carbon dioxide under pressure.
The only button on the device is usually responsible for how the level of fizziness is controlled. The more you press the trigger, the bubblier your drink will get. This comes in handy with children, who might prefer a less fizzy beverage, unlike store-bought soft drinks and seltzer. Over time, the family will end up purchasing fewer cans, going greener and saving more.
Create your own chilled summer drinks, with the best-rated soda makers on Amazon below. We considered the ease of use, refill accessibility, and drinks that can be carbonated. Order your unit with a Prime membership for free, fast delivery.
1. Best Overall: DrinkMate Soda Maker with 60L CO2 Cylinder
- Carbonates any pulp-free drink
- Easy to get gas refills in the UAE
- Control the level of fizz
- Comes with a CO2 canister
- Canister lasts for a lot less than 60-litre drinks, say reviews
DrinkMate's soda maker is guaranteed to carbonate any drink, besides water, as long as it's pulp-free. Its ability to carbonate a wide variety of beverages and the availability of refills have won it first place on our list. This means that instead of flavouring your water with syrup or juices later, you can directly add fizz to any flat drink of your choice. A dual-valve system allows you to control the release of carbon dioxide with drinks that foam up more than others. The connected BPA-free (bisphenol A) bottle lets you add bubbles to 850ml of beverage at a time and comes with a CO2 cylinder, which can carbonate up to 60 litres. Once you're out of gas, swap the empty cylinders for discounted DrinkMate canisters at any Orangic Food and Cafe store in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Those with a penchant for sparkling water leave five stars in the reviews, saying that they've switched to at-home carbonated water for the better. They confirm carbonating beverages besides water, too, reporting delightful results.
2. Best Value Kit: Bubble-bro Origin Sparkling Water Maker, Family Pack
- Flavours can be added after the water is carbonated
- Valves release pressure on their own
- Includes four bottles and two CO2 canisters
- Easy local service
- Only carbonates water
A homegrown brand, Bubble-bro is your best bet for a beginner's choice. With a local presence, Bubble-bro offers the convenience of ordering refills over text messages. Its family pack is excellent value for money, consisting of two 500ml bottles, two one-litre bottles and two 60-litre CO2 cylinders. The many connecting BPA-free bottles let everyone in the house pick their level of carbonation. The Origin soda maker, though, only carbonates plain water, unlike the DrinkMate. But, you can still add flavours to your sparkling water after. Reviewers love the quick service and the grab-and-go bottles they can take anywhere.
3. Best Design: Aarke Carbonator III
- Polished stainless steel body
- Releases gas on its own
- Has a drip tray
- Control strength with each lever press
- Plastic water bottle
- CO2 cylinder to be purchased separately
A polished chrome soda maker for the modern kitchen, Aarke's Carbonator 3 is made with a stainless-steel enclosure. Like our Bubble-bro option, this soda maker only carbonates fresh water, which can be flavoured later, if needed. Once you've connected the 800ml PET bottle, pull down the lever to add fizz until the unit buzzes. One drawback is that you'll have to purchase 60-litre CO2 cylinders separately. Reviewers call this stunning piece of carbonator the highlight of their kitchen. Many write that they've started drinking more water than before, but most dishwasher users lament that they have to handwash the plastic water bottle.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh74.88 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best Ergonomic Soda Maker: SodaStream Art Sparkling Water Maker
- Ergonomic lever design
- Quick connect CO2 cylinder
- Dishwasher-safe water bottle
- All components are easy to connect - no twisting and turning involved
- Only uses a particular type of canister
SodaStream's Art model has a lever design, too, except the bottle is dishwasher-safe. Fill the one-litre bottle with water, lock it in and crank down with the lever to add fizz, then mix in flavours as you see fit. The Art unit connects to the CO2 cylinder quickly, without the need to screw it in. This makes the kit easier to use for those with mobility difficulties, say reviews. The order includes one Quick Connect CO2 cylinder, but do note that, unlike Aarke, this unit is only compatible with this type of canister by SodaStream.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh56.92 for 12 months with select banks.
5. Best for Fruit Water: Twenty39 Qarbo Sparkling Water Maker and Fruit Infuser
- Carbonates water infused with fruit, saving time
- Works with syrups and sweeteners, too, during carbonation
- Uses standard CO2 cylinders
- Comes with an extra bottle and a recipe book
- Bottles can be too tall to store comfortably in the fridge
Here's an alternative to the DrinkMate - Qarbo carbonates any beverage, including water infused with slices of fruit. The sparkling water maker is cylindrical in shape, from the body to the bottle, which reviews find difficult to fit into the door of their refrigerator. Still, it's a negligible con when we consider that the bottle has a mouth wide enough to drop in fruit pieces. Create naturally flavoured sparkling water using the included free recipe book. Your order comes with two bottles, but it's missing a CO2 canister. Unlike SodaStream, this soda maker uses any standard 60-litre CO2 cylinder, so getting refills is going to be fairly straightforward. Reviewers have even gone ahead and re-carbonated their flat soft drinks that were left out for too long. They've also added fizz to teas and juices.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.