A simple and cost-effective way to make sparkling water at home, the SodaStream Spirit also helps cut down on plastic waste. It’s easy to use, very effective and small and light enough to move out of the way when not in use. Syrups add flexibility into the mix, and a deal with Pepsi brings premium drinks to your home.
- Easy to use
- Cheaper than buying sparkling water
- Wide range of syrups
- Provided bottle is not dishwasher safe
- Sparkling drinksThis machine, like other SodaStream models, using CO2 to carbonate water, adding fizz. It works out cheaper per litre than buying water in supermarkets, plus saves on plastic usage.
- CapacityThe provided bottle is 1-litre in size, but you can only fill to the 840ml line to give enough space for carbonisation.
- Eco friendlyYou cut back on plastic bottle usage and the CO2 bottles are recyclable.
SodaStream is a company that has managed to escape the 80s; moving on from budget cola and fizzy-drinks to making machines as an eco-friendly way of making sparkling water and premium drinks. Cheap and effective, the SodaStream Spirit is a simple way to add sparkle, and there are even premium syrups to add flavour when you want it.
If you drink sparkling water at home, then this is the most efficient way to do so, plus you’ll cut down on the number of bottles that you use.
Design and features
- 1-litre bottles don’t really take that capacity
- Cheap to run for sparkling water
- Syrups vary in cost and effectiveness
The SodaStream Spirit is the company’s entry-level machine, but don’t let that put you off, as the lower price makes it a more attractive option than its stablemates. It’s available in seven different finishes, making it easy to find the one that you either like the most or that fits in with your decor.
It looks good from a distance, although it does have a slightly plasticky feel when you touch it. No matter, as the parts feel robust enough and it’s what this machine produces that’s important. It’s also quite small. Measuring 425 x 185 x 130mm, the Spirit is tall but doesn’t take up a huge amount of counter space.
Using the machine is easy. First, you have to install the Co2 canister, which screws into the back. Each cylinder can make up to 60 litres of sparkling water, and are fully exchangeable online and in some physical stores, such as Lakeland.
With a trade-in, you can get a replacement cylinder for as little as £11.99, which works out at around 20p per litre of sparkling water. Given that tap water costs less than 1p per litre, making sparkling water with the SodaStream Spirit is far cheaper than buying bottles in the supermarket.
Plus, with a SodaStream you don’t need single-use bottles, as you have reusable ones. With the Spirit you get a single bottle, which the company says is a 1-litre bottle. That’s technically true, in that the bottle can hold 1-litre of liquid. However, to give space for carbonation, the fill-line on the bottle is at the 840ml mark.
It doesn’t particularly make a difference; after all, when the bottle is empty, you just fill it up and reuse it, but the terminology feels a little misleading. Additional bottles normally cost £9.99, although you can often find them on sale. There are smaller 0.5-litre bottles, too. While the bottle provided with the machine isn’t dishwasher safe, the replacement bottles are.
To carbonate the water, you just slide the bottle up into positions and clip it back, so that it hangs from the machine.
There’s a button on top that you press and hold in two-second bursts to add more carbon dioxide: three is lightly sparkling, five bursts is more sparkling and seven is super sparkling.
One of the things that made SodaStream so popular originally was the collection of syrups. As a child of the 80s, I never thought that they were as good as the ‘real thing’ (bar the cream soda), but times have changed. While there’s still the collection of standard syrups (sold under the Classic name), the line-up is more expansive and includes diet tonic water. Plus, there’s a line of premium syrups including Pepsi, Pepsi Max, 7Up and 7Up Free.
Price varies by the pack size and the brand. Taking 7Up Free, a single bottle costs 4.99 and makes up to nine litres. That works out at 55.44p per litre for the syrup, plus an additional 20p per litre for the sparkling water, for a grand total of 75.44p. Buy the syrup in a six pack, and the cost drops to around 66p per litre.
Classic syrups are a bit cheaper: with Diet Tonic, for example, the most expensive it gets is around 64p per litre, which is similar to supermarket own-brand tonics, and cheaper than the bigger brands.
That’s not a bad price, but 7Up can often be bought on deal for even less, pre-bottled. The SodaStream Spirit isn’t always the best value option, although it’s fair to say that you’ll cut down on the amount of plastic you use by switching to the syrups.
- Works with cold water
- Excellent results
- Syrups add variety
While using the SodaStream is easy, it’s about getting the right results. It should only be used with cold water, which can come from the tap or from a filter. If you’ve got a tap with a filter built-in, such as the InSinkErator 4IN1, then even better.
Some of the taste will depend on the quality of water that you put in, but what I can say is that the SodaStream Spirit is capable of delivering fully sparkling water with everything from a gentle fizz to a rage of bubbles.
It’s worth following the instructions and adding carbon dioxide in bursts; if you press the button for too long, you risk water being pushed out of the top, creating a spill that you have to tidy up.
With the seal on the bottle, the fizz keeps well for a few days, too. Unless you have a penchant for a particular brand of naturally carbonated water, what you get out of the SodaStream is as good as any artificially carbonated water you can buy in the supermarket.
Syrups vary in quality and will depend on your taste. I made some 7Up Free and was impressed with the results: the final product tasted very similar to a shop-bought load.
I also made some diet Tonic. It’s a decent enough mixer, too. I tried it with a mix of gins, including flavoured ones and standard London Drys, and it mixed well in all cases. The only thing you can’t get with a SodaStream is a mix of premium flavoured tonics.
Should you buy it?
If you drink sparkling water regularly, then this machine will both save you money and cut down on the amount of plastic waste.
If you rarely drink sparkling water or fizzy drinks, this machine will take a long time to pay back your initial investment.
It makes to think of the SodaStream Spirit as an eco-friendly way of making sparkling water. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also cheaper to make sparkling water this way, and the cost of the machine will pay itself off for regular sparkling water drinkers.
The syrups are an added bonus, as a way to add variety to what the machine can do. It’s nice to see some premium options in there, too. While the syrups often aren’t any cheaper than buying pre-made sparkling drinks, they’re not far off and you’ll cut down on the amount of plastic you’re using.
How we test
We test every carbonated water maker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
We carbonate still water to different levels to see the range available.
We calculate the cost of sparkling water and other drinks to see how the cost compares to buying bottles in the supermarket.
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There’s a CO2 canister at the back. Press the button on top to carbonate your water with carbon dioxide: the more you add the fizzier it is.
No, it is entirely manual.
Make each press a firm one that lasts between one and two seconds; then give the bottle time to rest before repeating the action until you’ve got the level of fizz that you want.