Whether you’re a kid or an adult, the Air Up system is a great way to add flavour to water. Using clever scent pods that give the sensation of taste through air bubbles, Air Up adds flavour without actually adding anything to the source water. Its pods aren’t particularly cheap, but are a lot cheaper than the less-healthy pre-bottled alternatives, while saving on plastic.
- Keeps water pure and healthy
- Wide choice of scent pods
- Adds subtle flavour to any water
- Pods are expensive
- Flavoured podsPods add flavour via scent: air bubbles transport scent into your mouth, giving the sensation of taste without actually adding anything to the source water.
Smell and taste are linked. It’s the reason why things like oranges and strawberries taste how they smell. Using this link, the Air Up system uses scented pods to add flavour to water without actually adding anything to it.
There’s enough variety in pods to find a flavour that will suit you or your kids, delivering a gentle hint of flavour without any additives or sugars. Whether you’ve got kids that won’t drink much water or you just like a bit more flavour to your drink, the Air Up system is excellent.
Design and pods
- Multiple bottles available
- Wide range of pods
- Simple to use
Air Up has a choice of bottles, including a plastic version (650ml) and the insulated steel version that I have on test in 480ml and 850ml versions. I’ve got the Air Up 480ml Pitch Black Steel Bottle, but there’s a stainless steel version, too.
There’s no difference in how the bottles work, but the steel version’s insulated interior will keep drinks cold for up to 14 hours.
My steel bottle has two components. First, the removable lid section gives access to the main bottle so that it can be filled with water. You can use standard tap water or sparkling water (the SodaStream Art is a good choice if you want to make your own). I prefer to use filtered water from the ZeroWater 12 Cup, as it removes any nasty taste from tap water.
Then, there’s the top section, which includes the lid, straw and pod holder. Unlike traditional water bottles, the Air Up should not be tilted up but should be used with the straw. This creates air bubbles that carry the scent up, delivering the sensation of taste.
Scent pods are clipped onto the top of the straw, and should be pulled up to activate the taste, and pushed down if you just want plain water.
There’s a lot of choice, including watermelon, strawberry-lemongrass, apple and more. Some have a more artificial taste to them, others are built to smell closer to the real fruit. Again, personal preference will impact which flavours you like and which you don’t, but there’s genuinely enough choice to find one you like.
Pods range between £4.99 and £5.99 for a three-pack, each lasting for around 5-litres of use. According to Air Up’s estimates, drinking 1.5 litres of water daily means two pods will last around a week. That’s not cheap, as such, but given that flavoured water costs around £1.40 for 1.5-litres, Air Up pods compare well. And, as there’s no added sugar or actual flavours, Air Up means you’re drinking plain water.
Plus, there’s a lot less plastic in an Air Up pod compared to buying water in plastic bottles. Pods and their transparent cases go in plastic recycling, but the pod pouches can’t currently be recycled, as they have a layer of aluminium; Air Up says it plans to change the pouch into a recyclable mono-material in the future.
- Results vary between people and pods
- Adds a gentle hint of flavour
Opening a pod for the first time, I was struck by the strong smell that I got from it: it’s a proper, full-on kind of scent. The taste is rather different and relies on the right technique, sipping through the straw.
Rather than the strong taste, as though drinking a cordial, the Air Up pods add a delicate hint of flavour to the water. It’s a subtle change but one with a definite impact. Pushing the pod down and taking another sip, the water tasted of plain water. It’s impressive how much difference a scented pod can make.
Flavour preference differs from person to person. I found the cherry flavour a little too much, with an odour more akin to cherry-flavoured sweets. Strawberry and lemongrass, on the other hand, was right up my street, as were the yuzu and rosemary pods. My daughter, on the other hand, was particularly taken with the kola flavour, the more artificial and sweet taste appealing to her.
In both my case and my daughter’s, the flavour did mean that we both reached for the water bottle more often than we’d normally be inclined to, which can only be a good thing.
I found that pods are best used fresh and can lose their scent after being opened for a while. It makes sense to open and use one until it runs out of scent, before switching flavours.
Should you buy it?
You want to drink water but like a bit more taste: If you’re used to squash or flavoured water, the Air Up is a good and healthy alternative.
You don’t want to get tied to buying pods: If you like regular water and don’t want the expense of buying pods, this system isn’t for you.
With a little bit of magic (well, science), the Air Up system turns boring old water into a more fun, lightly flavoured drink. It’s good for kids, but there’s enough range of adult flavours out there to suit us grown-ups, too. While the pods aren’t particularly cheap, they’re cheaper than the equivalent flavoured water and, as they don’t have any additives or sugars, are a healthy way of drinking water.
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Natural ingredients are used to create scents, which are contained inside a fleece. Nothing from the pod makes its way into the water.
Yes it does, but to get the most from it you need to use the bottle properly: pull the pod up into the activated position, don’t tilt the bottle up, and drink through the straw.