Is a Soda Maker Worth It?

In many cases, yes—and it's better for the environment

Soda water, seltzer, sparkling water, fizzy water—whatever you call carbonated water, it’s a great go-to beverage for its effervescence and lack of calories. And if bottles or cans of the stuff are a staple at your table, you may wonder whether you can save money by buying a soda maker and adding the bubbles yourself. Try our calculator: If you go through at least a couple of liters of store-bought seltzer a week, a soda maker pays for itself within two years. It also keeps all those empties out of the recycling stream or trash. For some, that’s the real deal. Andrea Kott of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., was mortified that she had to switch back to buying seltzer when CO2 cartridges got scarce early in the pandemic. “I imagined every bottle I drank going into a landfill,” she says. “Or a whale’s belly.”

Cost assumptions:
• 1-liter bottle of seltzer: 86 cents. 2-liter bottle of seltzer: $1.12. 12-ounce can of seltzer: 42 cents. Based on national average pricing data from shopping analytics company Basket.
• Soda maker: $80 for CR’s highly rated SodaStream Terra.
• Replacement CO2 cartridges: $22.50 for every 60 liters (cartridge prices vary from about $15 in-store to more than $30 for delivery).

Additional reporting by Kristen Dorrell, CR statistician.