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I love my Sodastream fizzy water machine

I gave it a month before posting. But I am so glad I finally bought this gizmo. Had been thinking about it for, literally, years. I am incurably addicted to fizzy water so I'd been buying either expensive imported fizzy water or big bottles of club soda for my fix. I always felt guilty and stupid about the waste of disposable bottles, the unconscionable transportation cost and the fact that I should be drinking our own, homegrown beautiful well water.

So I bought the Sodastream water carbonator. It's a unit, about the size of an average coffeemaker (a little taller). You put a CO2 cartridge into the back - which should carbonate about 60 litres of water - fill the two supplied re-usable bottles with cold water, attach them to the unit and in about a minute you have a bottle of fizzy water. You control the amount of fizz you like - I like mine pretty bubbly. I LOVE this machine.

It's not free. The unit cost about $100 (ish) in Canada and it comes with one carbonator cartridge and two bottles. I bought two additional bottles (about $18) and just yesterday two additional carbonator cartridges. The cartridges cost me $34 each, but when I return them empty and pick up a full one, it will only be about $16 for each one. There's a deposit that you only pay once.

I love that I'm drinking my own water, it has no added sodium or anything that isn't already in the water and I don't have to throw away or recycle zillions of empties. It was a great investment and will save a bit of money in the long run.

Just wanted to share in case anyone else is considering this unit.

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  1. thanks for reminding me about this. i posted this thread last year, inquiring about fizzy drinks. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/501214

    which particular model do you have? the cheapest one? how sturdy is it? do you see any need for a more expensive model, for any reason? how much are you making each day?

    sodastream site: http://www.sodaclubusa.com/default.ht...
    on sale, too!

    2 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      I have the basic model, Sodastream. It comes with two plastic bottles. To be honest, at least part of my reluctance to buy this thing was because of the plastic. But it's not that kind we're not supposed to be using - sorry brain bloop, can't remember what it's called - and besides, the water only sits in the bottle for less than a day before refilling. I make about 2 litres a day if it's just me and my husband. With company, we go through a lot more.

      The unit itself is sort of crappy plastic, but I keep it in a back room where I have my spare fridge so I'm not looking at it all the time. And I can't see it getting a lot of rough treatment, so I do hope it will last a while.

      1. re: alkapal

        I had (past tense) an expensive ISI. jillp's husband likes fizzy water so he is using it now. I started thinking about overall cost and found La Croix less expensive over all and has finer smaller bubbles than from my own production. I do love my ISI cream whipper though.

      2. Dude, can you try and carbonate some other stuff for us, as a test?

        I want to know what fizzy tea, coffee and milk taste like. If you could provide this information, I'd be grateful. And remember - you only live once!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Soop

          The instructions clearly warn you not to carbonate anything but water, and to add any flavorings afterwards. I have tried adding concentrated OJ to pre-carbonated water, but it fizzled all over the counter and didn't really work out. Maybe I'll try again with concentrated apple juice.

          1. re: Soop

            This was my thought at first also. Not milk (aack!) or tea, but nice juice or some other refreshing thing or other. But I really really don't want to mess this thing up so I'm not going to do your dirty work for you - sorry Soop. You'll have to experiment on your own machine.

            I haven't bothered with the sample pack of soda flavours yet. We're really not big pop drinkers. In the summer, maybe.

            1. re: Nyleve

              I've had mine for about 4 months and agree that it's great. My brother-in-law lives in Europe and works for a supplier of the gas cylinders so they've been using it for a couple of years.

              We use the soda syrups and they're very good. On the plus side, even their non-diet syrups use a blend of sucrose (not corn syrup) and Splenda so a serving is only 30 calories.

              I've been exploring other flavoring options and Whole Foods has a few no-sugar-added juice concentrates which I'll try soon.

            2. re: Soop

              Carbonated milk? You can look for "Doogh" in middle eastern grocery stores which is a carbonated yogurt soda...

            3. I love mine too! Carbonated water for 4 people at each meal and in between meals too! Good North-side Calgary Bow River carbonated water, not the silly imported european stuff or the cheap salty club soda stuff.

              The syrups (for pop) aren't bad. The "regular" ones are half sucralose half sugar sweetened, so not as tasty as full-sugar pop but a lot less calories. The "diet" ones are all sucralose, no aspartame, so better tasting (IMHO) than most diet pop.

              Mostly, I like not having to lug heavy containers from the store and the bulky containers back to the bottle depot.

              My only complaint is that they won't ship me the syrups or the cartridges. I have to make a special trip to the one store in Calgary that is the regional dealer. As a person who mostly shops by bicycle, on foot, and on the internet, this is a royal PITA, (but not as much of a PITA as buying carbonated water on foot.) I have three CO2 cartridges on the go, and keep the empty ones in the car so I can refill them if I happen to be in that area of the city on a weekend.

              I bought mine 6 months or so ago and it's definitely paid for itself two times over already.

              I keep wanting to invent my own syrups, to make my own pop. I've googled around for some recipes, but haven't found anything particularly useful yet. I think the thing to do is to start with some aromatic bitters and some citrus juice.

              Also, we keep limes and lemons in the fridge (ordered on the internet, of course, from spud.ca) and often squeeze a slice into a glass of water when serving.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JAbraham

                mmm, i know one juice i'd like to amp up with carbonation: "simply apple."

              2. We bought a Penguin recently and love it! It's more expensive than the basic models but we wanted the glass bottles and since it sits out on our dining buffet we preferred the look. So far(3weeks) we've been thrilled with it.

                We also drank a lot of Pellegrino and with the cost and the bottles didn't feel good about it. Now we just fizz a glass carafe from our regular drinking water and off we go. No trips to the store, no cases to lug, no glass bottles being shipped aorund the world and recycled.

                We only use ours for water as we're not soda drinkers. But with a yard full of citrus trees we always have something on hand to squeeze in for a bit of refreshing flavor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ziggylu

                  I'm no "Earth nut" but the idea of lugging countless bottles and cans from the store and disposing of them - not to mention the environmental costs of shipping water to the stores in the first place finally got to me.

                  And my sons are both drinking sparkling water - when at least one of them was an exclusive Coke drinker - as their beverage of choice.

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    I live in Vancouver and thinking of buying the Penguin. How does the carbonated cartridges work in terms of getting new ones. Do we need to mail the old ones back or is there a store we go to? Just wondering how much trouble it is and if it will be worth it. Thanks!

                  2. We get a better deal in the US, a 3-carbonator swap for $38, or about 21 cents a liter.

                    Williams-Sonoma stores will do a 2-bottle swap for $30.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ferret

                      Why am I not surprised? I was in NY a couple of weeks ago and tried every Williams Sonoma in the city for carbonators. They were all out. Every single one.

                      Oh well.

                      E.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        The initial kit is also pretty cheap here. $119 for the machine, 3 carbonators and 4 bottles -- with free shipping. So even with the cost of the unit it's under 70 cents per liter (dropping precipitously with your 2nd batch of carbonators).

                        It took me nearly 3 months to go through my first carbonator, but I suspect that will change as the weather gets warmer.

                    2. Hi, Where did you buy your machine, we live in Toronto? Thanks, k

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: kdevlin

                        There are a few places that sell the unit - they're all up in the Markham-ish area. The place is called Home Comfort Centre - http://www.homecomfortcentre.com/loca... There's one in the Pacific Mall, but there are a few others around also.

                        I would call ahead to check that they have a unit in stock. AND buy an extra set of bottles (it comes with two - buy two more) and at least a couple of carbonating cartridges. You pay a lot for the cartridges when you first buy them, but there's a sort of deposit on them so the next time you pick up a cartridge you return the used one and pay considerably less.

                        1. re: kdevlin

                          They are most likely to have it at the Home Comfort Centre's Leslie St location. As Nyleve suggests, don't go without calling first. This isn't a serious part of their business. Be sure to get prices before you go and then compare the prices with those offered on the Sodastream website.

                          FYI, although the Sodastream website prices are in US dollars, it is often - though not always - cheaper to order from them (delivered to your door) than to buy it at Home Comfort Centre.

                          You definitely want extra bottles and extra large size gas cartridges. The "seltzer value kits" are probably the way to go.

                          If you can tolerate the look of it, go for the cheapest unit that accepts the large cartridges. All of the units have the same charging mechanism. Note that the expensive glass "Penguin" model won't save you any money over the supermarket.

                          The "stainless steel bottles" are actually the standard plastic bottles with a metal (instead of plastic) base.

                          I would advise you not to buy a "soda", as opposed to "seltzer", system. While you might like their flavouring syrups, we find them awful. You can always order these later.

                          If you do buy from Home Comfort Centre, be sure to ask them to throw in some flavouring syrups so you can try them.

                          If you buy from the Soda Stream website, go to the following site before you check out:
                          http://www.retailmenot.com/view/sodac...

                          Then try the coupon codes that are relevant to your order. I've found that one or more of these will usually work.

                          Just so you know, the "110 liter" claim applies only if you like your seltzer quite weak. I believe this is three "buzzes" (which will make sense when you use it). We charge ours with eight buzzes. This is much more potent than supermarket club soda and still significantly cheaper.

                          1. re: embee

                            Wow - 8 buzzes, really??? I think I wouldn't be able to swallow. :) We use 3 or 4 buzzes if we're mixing it with something like juice or just 2 or 3 buzzes if we're drinking it plain. The 110 size generally lasts us 3 or 4 months.

                            1. re: LNG212

                              We didn't buy this for the economics. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, the seltzer man delivered a case of siphon bottles every week. Even the fizziest "club soda" is pretty flat by comparison, and most brands taste of salt. You can't make an egg cream with club soda.

                              The beauty of this system is that it doesn't limit (as the iSi system does) the charge you can put into the water. You can keep injecting CO2 until the water can't absorb any more. If the water temperature is near freezing, it can absorb a startling amount of gas. We don't bother pre chilling the water, since our fridge is small and we go through at least two litres a day.

                              Burp....

                            2. re: embee

                              Wow you are a soda-fountain of knowledge.

                              Questions:
                              - I clicked on one of the links for the coupon code but it just launches the website. Not sure how to go about finding and entering a code for the items.
                              - I am currently in possession of 3 empty 60-litre carbonator cartridges and one that's in the machine now. I keep forgetting to bring the empties with me when I go to buy a new one. When I bring them back, do I get a deposit back on the ones I return? (I'm still new at this game.)
                              - If I order from the website, will I get dinged with customs/duty when they ship the stuff to me? And how do I exchange an empty cartridge if I order by mail?

                              Sorry for so many questions but I've only bought the carbonators so far from the store.

                              And put me down for 4 buzzes. Eight! That must be awesomely bubbly!

                              1. re: embee

                                Ok - I am officially an idiot. I figured out the coupon code thing and just ordered 3 carbonators delivered to my house. This is ridiculously easy if it's actually going to work. I live at least an hour away from the closest Home Comfort store so I am always going to order online from now on.

                                Except, of course, that Leslie St. store is in a very intriguing area for food...

                                Thank you embee! Great tip.

                                1. re: Nyleve

                                  The system is that you must pay a "license fee" for every cartridge you possess. When you return an empty, you don't pay the license fee for the new one.

                                  If you don't bring back the empties, you pay the license fee on every new cartridge you take home. It isn't a deposit, and you don't ever get that money back. Unless Home Comfort was awfully nice to you, you paid way too much.

                                  If you order two carbonators and use CHEAPGAS as the coupon code, you will usually get both carbonators for the exchange price. That is, you don't pay a license fee for the new cartridge. You leave one empty at the door and you get two new ones.

                                  Depending on where you live, having extra empties can be an advantage. Where I live, recycling scavengers sometimes grab the empty metal tanks to sell. Once you have sufficient cartridges for your needs, a cash discount is obviously better.

                                  If any code doesn't work, you can delete the sodaclub/sodasttream cookies from your browser and try logging in again. The codes that work change from time to time.

                                  Note that SodaStream's prices are actually ridiculously high. You are paying big time for the convenience, though still much less than you'd pay for bottles at a store. There's a German gizmo that enables you to refill the system with cheap local bulk gas, but it's not all that easy.

                                  The delivery service is reliable. There aren't any customs charges. They send full container loads into Canada and ship the orders from here. It usually takes 3-4 days and has taken as little as two. The worst case was several weeks, but it only happened once and there was an explanation and apology.

                                  They explain the logistics very clearly on their website. You leave the empties at the door or tell them on the order that someone will definitely be home. If the number of empties doesn't match what was expected for your order, you will see license fees added to your bill.

                                  1. re: embee

                                    Thanks for the detailed explanation. Because we live in a semi-rural area, instead of leaving the empties by the door for pick-up, I've been told that I will receive my order by UPS and that I should put the empties back into the shipping box and return them by UPS. I expect there is no charge for this. This delivery/pick-up arrangement is a great convenience. My trips into the GTA are not predictible and now that I am addicted to my water-fizzer, it would be hard to deal with running out of gas.

                                    1. re: Nyleve

                                      We are in their courier pick up zone which is very convenient. But we've also done the UPS thing when they were backlogged. They give you a free pre-paid UPS label to stick onto the box the carbonator came in. You can drop off at any UPS location or just give it to any UPS driver. If you know your UPS person, just have them wait a second while you swap out the new one for the old one and stick on the label. Our UPS guy is terrific and doesn't mind waiting while I do that sort of thing.

                                      Also, here in NYC we have the option of skipping the shipping/drop-off entirely by bringing the carbonators to one of their "licensed dealers" for refilling w/o shipping costs. Perhaps in your area they have similar licensed dealers. Never hurts to ask.

                                    2. re: embee

                                      When I try to order on the website, it says delivery is not available in my area. I think they are trying to protect the Calgary retailer, which is 20-40 minutes away depending on traffic. The local retailer only carries the small CO2 cartridges.

                                      Maybe I'll try to get it delivered to my vacation condo which isn't in Calgary.

                                      1. re: JAbraham

                                        Call them. I think they are having a problem with Transport Canada permits.

                                        1. re: embee

                                          Ok this is new, they've suspended any shipments, even to retailers, until they can get their CO2 cartridges recertified by Transport Canada. Supposedly they'll have that fixed in September.

                                          Hopefully in September, they'll be able to ship to my house as well as to the retailer!

                                      2. re: embee

                                        Thanks for the coupon code CHEAPGAS. It gave me $15 off!!! I have the least expensive version of the soda stream, I got it from JCPenny online via UPromise. It cost me about $79. plus I got the college savings kick-back from upromise.com. It's great I use four buzzes to get my fizz on. Since today was my first cartridge exchange, I got a discount for that too but the bulk of my discount came from that great coupon code--Thanks for the advice.. The company is going to pick up my cartridge and give me the new ones. I love that I'm not using cans and bottles. Every little thing you can do to save the environment helps. :o)

                                2. I've had my sodaclub for about a year and a half now. Love it. I have the Edition 1 model and I use the 110 cartridges instead of the 60 so they last a lot longer. As others have said, it's paid for itself several times over. I no longer have to have my groceries delivered because of the seltzer bottles (we went through about a case a week) and we no longer have to feel guilty about all the plastic.

                                  We don't drink soda so we've never tried their flavoring syrups. We like to use juice (cranberry especially) if we want some flavor to the water. Also, now that spring/summer is here, we are thinking about doing some agua frescas with the club soda. And the NY Times just ran an article about making your own ginger ale (there's another thread about this).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: LNG212

                                    I've recently tried to reorder the carbonation cartridges for my Soda Stream carbonator. which I've had for a year and love! I was told that the company cannot ship to Canada right now as there is a problem with Transport Canada. They expect it to be settled by the fall. Any ideas on where I can have the cartridges re-filled in the meantime? I'm in the Montreal area.

                                    1. re: westiedog

                                      Oh that's a drag. I know they're available in Toronto area stores - maybe you can call one of the retail outlets and have it shipped to you from there. Go to the Sodastream Canadian website and find a retailer - in the Toronto area they're sold at Home Comfort Centre stores.

                                  2. We are heavy seltzer users and were always lugging cases home and running out. I got my husband a Penguin for our anniversary, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the thing. We bought extra glass bottles -- we now have 6 -- and we always have still water chilling getting ready for carbonation as well as bottles in two fridges. We have much less recycling, and we can use that great NY water to make our seltzer. Love it, love it!

                                    1. I am deciding which model to purchase. Aesthetics are not the deciding factor. Could I make the water using one of the less expensive models with the plastic bottles, then transfer the water to my own glass bottles for storage? I would use the porcelain and rubber ring type bottle (such as is found Grolsch beer bottles, imported lemonade, etc.)?

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: TWISTEE TREAT

                                        It's just carbonated water. You can transfer it to test tubes, thimbles or goatskins.

                                        1. re: ferret

                                          but be sure the new water goes into new goatskins!

                                        2. re: TWISTEE TREAT

                                          Absolutely.

                                        3. But I do not care much for the outpouring of spam from Sodastream dealers (most already killed by the mods) that seems to have enveloped every relevant Chowhound thread over the last couple of days.

                                          I have posted detailed comments about this product on Chowhound, both the pros and the cons, over about two years - perhaps longer.

                                          I've shared advice, experiences, and - most importantly - our decision that, for us, the quality of the seltzer it produced, the charging control it offered, the bottle sealing mechanism, and the incredibly convenient delivery and canister exchange system more than offset their very high markup on CO2 gas. We have, indeed, "loved our Sodastream fizzy water machine".

                                          That said, times change. Sodastream (formerly Soda Club) has rolled out a total rebranding and marketing package with a glitzy website for their Canadian distributor in Winnipeg (Ecostream), and bunch of childishly designed websites from various affiliated Canadian outlets.

                                          Along with this rebranding came a universal price fixing scheme that doubled previous prices for Canadians.Whatever website or retailer you discover, you will find that prices are now exactly the same everywhere.

                                          If you had learned how to access the constant coupon promotions, the loyalty points, and the various special offers, you will find that the Canadian price increase is even worse worse. These programs, still offered in the US, are now toast in Canada.

                                          If you have any 110 litre canisters, you will now get a 60 litre canister in exchange for each one. Come 2010, you will find your large canisters worthless.

                                          Worst of all, though, is the complete dismantling of the delivery/exchange system. Instead of someone delivering no hassle gas to your door and removing the empties, the distribution system is now tied to the retailer. This is one area where prices and services can differ - and they do. Some are bad; others are worse, and others are much worse.

                                          Free delivery now requires a $200 order from one retail supplier. There is no free delivery from others. Ecostream says you can charge exchange canisters to their Purolator Acount, provided to you when they receive your order, but some who tried this did not get the information as promised.

                                          Other suppliers make you pay to send back exchanges, usually recommending a traceable, insured courier service for this purpose. So you need to box and wrap the empty canisters and, if you can't wait all day for a pickup, take it to the courier depot yourself., and pay.

                                          Note that neither retail suppliers nor Ecostream will process your exchange order until they get your empties back in house.

                                          If you had been considering alternatives to Sodastream, this may be the time to move on. Refilling adapters are available, and the cost of generic CO2 will astound you. You'll find CO2 at beer/pop suppliers, paintball dealers, and quite a few other places.

                                          While Sodastream may bring up safety issues, these are really a stretch. Most potential suppliers will sell only food/medical grade CO2..If you aren't sure, ask.

                                          Since Sodastream is obviously watching these boards right now, I'd suggest that you folks drastically rethink your new Canadian business model. At $10 for a small canister exchanged at my door, I'm willing to deal. Otherwise, the time has come to say goodbye :-(

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: embee

                                            I am definitely considering alternatives. I have 3 full canisters right now, but when they empty, I'm hunting. Why would a company voluntarily shoot themselves in the foot?

                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                              Nyleve, please email me offline at the address on my Chowhound profile.

                                            2. re: embee

                                              embee - that's just terrible the way they've changed things. I had no idea that the Canadian market was being reworked so differently from the US and I sincerely hope they don't change the US system to reflect the changes you describe. I very much like my SodaClub and wouldn't want to give it up.

                                              Here in NY, apparently (I haven't tried this) Williams Sonoma is a licensed refiller for the co2 cartridges. Do you have W-S in Canada and if so, have you tried that route?

                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                We do have W-S, but only in a few major cities. They do not deal with Sodastream. While there are Sodastream dealers, there aren't any licensed refillers. It is possible to bring exchanges to a dealer, but the nearest dealer to me requires a very time and gas consuming round trip.

                                                I don't have the invoices in front of me, so there's some guesswork here, but I could previously order (I think it was three - more than two, anyway) 110 liter canisters (330 liters) for about $50-$60, delivered to my door, and return two (not three) exchange cylinders.

                                                The 110 liter cylinders are no longer available in Canada. The cost for 300 liters of gas is now about $100, plus shipping, plus (in Ontario) 15% tax, plus the cost and inconvenience of shipping the exchange cylinders back in advance. In the Toronto area, you must be home to accept the delivery or else go to the main courier depot (there's one for all of Toronto - a huge urban area) to get it. They will not leave the gas cylinders at the door. (This might be different in other places.)

                                                1. re: embee

                                                  Wow that just sucks. I have no ideas to offer and you clearly are on top of everything. I have sympathy for you as I've not learned of anything that compares to my fountain jet. Good luck to you.

                                                  1. re: LNG212

                                                    I am incredibly frustrated with Sodastream's home exchange program. I have been waiting for delivery for two and a half weeks and have only received email after email full of excuses from them. You suggest refilling at a licensed dealer in the city. Who is a licensed dealer??

                                                    1. re: bronxshrew

                                                      That's terrible that they haven't responded to you. I know that Williams Sonoma is a licensed dealer. But they only carry certain sizes. I think I found that info on the soda stream website. Or you could give your nearest W-S a call. Good luck.

                                                2. re: LNG212

                                                  I bought my mother a Sodastream system last Christmas, and said I'd pay for her first two cartridge exchanges. When she needed them, I called W-S (we are in the US) to find out if they had exchange cartridges in stock, I was told they cost $30 each for 60L exchanges. So mail order from Sodastream it was, where that got two, including shipping. The area my mother lives in doesn't have courier service, but they send labels, etc. (paid) for you to return the empties; if they don't receive them, they charge you. I just found out a local kitchen shop has them for $15.

                                              2. There are 2 reasons I wouldn't use Sodastream. First, you're locked into a proprietary system where if the supplier raises the prices (as they already have by dropping the more cost effective, larger CO2 bottles), your only choices are to accept the increase or toss your expensive machine in the trash can. And if they go out of business, your Sodastream machine is worthless. Ok, maybe that's pretty much one reason, but it's a big one.

                                                The alternative is a DIY setup using a 5 pound or larger CO2 tank, a pressure regulator, a quick disconnect fitting, and matching carbonator cap that fits the usual water or soda bottles. Sounds complicated, but there are instructions online, and you can get everything you need from the local home brew store (these are all parts used for carbonating kegs of beer).

                                                I recently helped a friend set up a system for about $200. You could save a bit buying online, but the main savings is in the gas refills. A 5 lb tank contains about 4 times the CO2 as a Sodastream cartridge, and a refill here in SF costs $20 (there are no shipping charges, but you do need to drop off and pick up the tank). So using Nyleve's number of $16 per Sodastream cartridge (does that include shipping?), that's $20 vs $64 for the same amount of CO2. So in the long run a DIY setup will pay for itself compared to Sodastream, even if Sodastream does not go out of business.

                                                The downside is these setups are more bulky and not pretty, so they are best set up under a counter. And you do need to be comfortable working with valves and fittings and such.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Zeldog

                                                  I did exactly the same thing (CO2 tank / regulator / carbonator cap). But I got my tank and regulator from Craigslist, so the total cost was under $75. And I think a 5# tank holds a LOT more than four times the gas of a SodaStream canninster.

                                                  You're right about the aesthetics, though. It's not a pretty setup.

                                                2. Really digging mine. Hubby got it for my for an Xmas present. The syrups aren't that great - Splenda aftertaste. I got some little bottles of "essence" to flavor water. At Macy's it was $3.99 - Same 3 pack was $10 at the sodastream website.

                                                  Thus far, we're liking it. Mostly the environmental angle and PITA-factor with bottles and cans sold me. Love the bubbles!

                                                  1. Anybody in NYC (Bronx or elsewhere) have a bad experience with home delivery? Suggestions for refill locations in Manhattan??

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: bronxshrew

                                                      I've had great luck both times I've exchanged at Williams Sonoma at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. I'm pretty sure I paid only $15 per exchange (for the smaller size, which fits the Penguin -- which btw I LOVE).

                                                      1. re: bronxshrew

                                                        I've not had any bad experiences with them (in about 3 years of use). As iyc_nyc says, you can try going to Williams Sonoma. But W-S doesn't carry all the sizes so be sure to ask first. Good luck.

                                                      2. i'm thinking about purchasing this product and i've read quite a few boards on the topic at this point. I belive the exchange program could become tedious as time passes. Thus, my question is: what is the possibility of just recharging the cartridges originally purchased from sodastream? Are they not refillable? If they are, wouldn't it be smarter to just refill them at a local beer and wine? I assume though, that they must be refillable only by sodastream. But if they aren't refillable, wouldn't that be an environmental waste on sodastreams behalf?? Just a thought. Any words of wisdom would be welcome!! cheers

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: wicketwise

                                                          Of course the canisters aren't single-use throw-away; they are refilled. They are refillable canisters but only by a licensed sodastream dealer. They have some kind of proprietary valve on the top and you violate your user license if you damage it or use some random re-filler who damages it/removes it/etc.

                                                          If you read this thread, you'll see above where I note that sodastream now licenses, e.g., Williams Sonoma (and other retailers) to refill. If that's more convenient for you. Personally, I like the exchange program since I don't have to lug anything anywhere (they come to me when I place my order).

                                                          1. re: LNG212

                                                            Are the plastic bottles (not the canisters) proprietary? i.e. Can I just use any water bottle I have lying around to carbonate the water?

                                                            1. re: evbart

                                                              I'm pretty sure the threads are unique (have to check at home - and as I think about it there are cuts in the threads to assist you in blindly engaging the threads in the carbonator). You can always transfer the contents to the bottle of your choice post-carbonation.

                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                Ditto. I also think the mouth of the bottle is of a size not usual on most other bottles. So you can use their bottles to carbonate and then transfer. I think the general system comes with 2 bottles and if you are then transferring to other bottles, those 2 should work out just fine for you.

                                                        2. So i'm thinking of buying one, but it looks like SodaStream has come up with quite a few options now to pick from. From all the great posts, I still can't totally tell which is the best to buy. I'm a big sparkling water drinker as it sounds like most folks here are as well, so durability is probably one of the bigger criteria as I don't want it to fall apart. Also cost effectiveness is probably another since we go through quite a bit in the house so we'll be buying carbonated rechargers often it sounds like.

                                                          So any addition advice is apprecaited!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: InNOutBurger

                                                            I'm still an advocate of the DIY system. My 5# CO2 tank has carbonated 500+ liters of water and counting. And I'm not hostage to SodaStream's proprietary (and ludicrously overpriced) valves and cannisters.

                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                              I picked up a 10# tank and regulator assembly for 2 liter bottles. MUCH cheaper than the sodastream. $12 to fill the talk - been using it for over a year and have yet to refill it.

                                                              1. re: exvaxman

                                                                i like this idea!

                                                                by the way, that might be the solution in this situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f309fS... (it is definitely worth watching past the intro).

                                                            2. re: InNOutBurger

                                                              I am a reluctant hostage to SodaStream's system but until my husband becomes technically adept or a friend decides to get interested in this from a scientific point of view, I'll keep buying the canisters and shut up about the cost. About 2 years ago I bought a very basic SodaStream system - plastic countertop unit with plastic bottles. All of the original components are still working - after almost continuous use on the average of two bottles of fizzy water a day. I like my water medium-well carbonated so I figured out that I get about 30 to 35 liters of water from one CO2 canister. Even at the exhorbitant cost it is worth it for me. I like being able to use my own well water and not having to haul bottles of imported fizz home from the store. I don't have to recycle anything - the gas canisters go back for exchange when they're empty and the water bottles are rinsed and reused. They hold their carbonation for a good few days in the refrigerator - I'd guess a week, even.

                                                              There are many models of this system now, I know. If I were buying a new one I might get one that uses glass water bottles. But other than that, I'm not sure there's much difference in the actual countertop unit - it's just a framework to hold the CO2 canister and the water bottle. Like I said - mine was a cheapie and it still works. Buy the one you like the looks of and you can afford.

                                                              Edited to add: I am in no way connected with SodaStream but I admit I've tried to talk lots of friends into buying a system so that one of them can figure out how to rig up a bulk gas tank for me.

                                                              1. re: InNOutBurger

                                                                I've had the low-end unit for 2 years of pretty active use. I purchased 2 extra bottles so I have 4 in the fridge at a time. If I was buying a new one I'd go for the $99 model, the low-end has a needlessly complicated hinged mount for the bottle. It works fine and I have no reason to suspect it won't continue to work fine, but simpler is always better, in my view. There are several Crate & Barrel stores near me carrying the carbonators, so it's easier than ever to swap them out.

                                                              2. Probably worth noting that Bed Bath and Beyond is now carrying new and exchange canisters, as well as soda mix.

                                                                Quite happy with my unit, though I don't use it constantly. For me the motivator was the hassle of lugging home bottles of water and not having them on hand when I wanted them, more than the cost.

                                                                When I experiment with syrups and whatnot, I tend to decant into glass bottles with Grolsch-style closures, acquired from Ikea at very low cost.

                                                                1. I just bought my SodaStream. I bought the original model. It doesnt seem to be working. I filled the bottle and press the lever down many times but it never beeps... any idea what is wrong?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cassoulady

                                                                    do you hear a rush of gas? is it pressurizing?

                                                                    1. re: cbantli

                                                                      Problem solved! The bottle was not screwed in all the way! I LOVE this thing and wonder why I waited so long to buy it. Living without a car, lugging bottle of seltzer was a pain ( not to mention expensive and not very green). This is a great machine!

                                                                  2. I got my sodastream as a gift last christmas and love it. It came with a large canister and sample pack. I went online anind ordeed 2 1 return and 1 extra. they told me leave the empty on the step, well unbelivable ! they picked it up and left my order. Well that was like a milk delivery....then it all went down hill. They changed that now I order my turn in's and when they get delivered a package is sent with the order, you are expected to package them and find a UPS drop off ( at a UPS center ) well mine are located 25 miles away. so I sent a email to the Customer support explain to them how far away, could they ship 2 boxes and as I use it I will have the boxes available, so when I place the order, I will have the packages ready, when UPS comes he will pick up my package, and drop off my order with 2 replace packages. Well after the poor response, the DumbA** s at sodastream stopped responding, very poor CS. Well it is Xmas this year and I ordered over 300'00 (that included 2 return large canisters since I looked at every place sold soda stream some only sold machine and syrup, others sold the small canisters but no return, BB&Beyond traded the empty small only so I was a hostage to Sodastream Customer service. and it sucked. I too placed my order on December 3rd, got a respond right away. that I should be returning my canister returns with a certain time period or I will be chaged full price for my canisters I traded! and guess what, No tracking number, no order confirmation no shipping date.!!! what a bunch of Aholes not a clue. Icalled once and they could not confirm my shipment or a tracking number, I wanted to speak to a manager, busy, so Isaid I will hang on till they are finished, I thinking of cancelling my order of over $300.00. I was treated like crap, they said they will send a status witin 24 hrs, well they didn't, but next day I got a email with tracking order, It say's it will be arriving tomorrow, not i have to hurry and make my arrangements to accept delivery since I am at work!!! I learned my lesson with that poorly run clueless company stay away from the website pickup everything at BB&beyond. the other stores that sell it, screw them if they won't accept my canisters I will not purchase anything at that store!!! Worse customer service for a excellent product!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: calbuckley

                                                                      Would exchanging CO canister at a nearby Williams Sonoma store work for you??

                                                                      1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                        Also Bed and Bath and you can use your 20% coupons.

                                                                      2. re: calbuckley

                                                                        Great device; sleazy company. Welcome to the Canadian Sodastream experience. They did this to us a couple of years back. I've posted about this in detail earlier (see above), so I will not repeat, but find a local refiller (unaffiliated with Sodastream) if you can. If you aren't as lazy as I am, you can look into some of the available Sodastream alternatives.

                                                                      3. I kinda like the Sodastream. My biggest concern is: the wasted CO2. This system should have been designed so that it injects the CO2, and keeps the gas trapped for perfect carbonation with less wasted gas, while reducing contamination and backflow spoilage caused by syrup leaking back through the seal. Instead of using Sodastream exchanges, I decided to save up for a Critical Paintball tank kit, which is an adapter to work with standard CO2 paintball tanks. The major difference between regular and "food grade" CO2, is not the CO2 itself, but the construction of the tanks they are stored in. In order for a tank to be certified "food grade" it has to pass tests for materials which are practically absent in the manufacturing process. If they were at all present, the tanks themselves would be very weak. "Medical grade" reduces the tolerances for the tests, in order for the highest purity to be guaranteed.

                                                                        It would be an option for those of thou having to order 3 bottles of refills in order to get free shipping. And if you live near a paintball supply place, refills are easy. Just screw the adapter shut with an Allen wrench, take off the adapter, take it in, and have the tank refilled.

                                                                        1. We have not bought a Soda Stream because I am worried that the wasted CO2 will add to the greenhouse effect and increase global warming. We recycle everything and are trying to do our part to reduce greenhouse gases, not increase them.