Small Appliances

Every seltzer fan needs this soda machine—here’s why

This soda maker is gorgeous, plus it's easy to use.

Aarke Carbonator 3 III Review Credit: Aarke

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In my household, we can go through three boxes of seltzer in less than a week and it’s always a minor crisis when we run out. Not to mention, my go-to post-work cocktail is a gin and tonic, so we go through plenty of tonic water as well.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that stocking up on essentials—from flour to yeast to toilet paper—can prevent headaches when goods are scarce on supermarket shelves. As the widely reported aluminum can shortage continues to impact store shelves, I started researching soda makers as an alternative to store-bought soda water.

Enter: Aarke Carbonator III, a beautifully designed soda maker that comes in colors suitable for every kitchen. I tried it for a week to see if it’s as functional as promised.

What is a soda maker?

What's a soda maker
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

It's easy to set up—all you need to do is install a pressurized CO2 cartridge.

A soda maker pumps CO2 from a pressurized carbon dioxide cartridge to achieve instant carbonation in still water. To get it going, you’ll need to install a 60-liter CO2 cartridge (available in stores and online) first, which is not included with the Aarke carbonator. Unlike other brands and older models, this Aarke doesn’t need to be plugged into an electric outlet.

How does an Aarke carbonator work

Aarke carbonator
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Carbonator III lever is controlled by a rotational damper to allow for a more controlled release of pressure in the bottle compared to its older model.

Offered in Chrome, Black Chrome, White, Brass, Copper, and Matte Black, the Aarke Carbonator III comes fully assembled. All you need to do is install a pressurized CO2 cartridge and place the stainless steel drip tray cover, then you’re ready to make soda water using the complimentary plastic water bottle. Simply fill the bottle with cold water and screw the bottle onto the machine. Once the bottle is secured, pull the lever down for a couple of seconds to inject gas into the water. With the previous Carbonator II, you may have needed two pumps to make it extra fizzy—but the updated Carbonator III is efficient enough that one pump will do the trick.

What we like

All Aarke carbonators can operate without being plugged in at all times, which sets them apart from some of Sodastream’s soda makers. Its stainless steel structure is heavy enough to remain stable when pumping gas into the water, but is also lightweight enough for me to easily move it around the house if needed.

Additionally, this version has a new pressure release valve with a quieter, less irritating sound to signal when the water is carbonated. This carbonator is also designed with its pledge to reduce plastic waste in mind, as the precision nozzle is made from a single piece of stainless steel. The benefit here is this polished steel nozzle can give a calm and controlled stream of gas into the water, which leads to a more efficient absorption of CO2 in the water and a perfect bubble size.

What we don’t like

Unlike the Sodastream, it’s tough to know where to screw the bottle onto because the threads part is sort of hidden. It would be nice to be able to pop the bottle into the machine without trying to match the threads.

Is an Aarke Carbonator worth the investment

Aarke worth it?
Credit: Aarke

This carbonator will make a great gift for someone who loves sparkling water.

If you consume a large amount of seltzer or tonic water, you may benefit from owning a soda maker that can carbonate your tap water on demand. Or, if you’re determined to kick your aluminum can and plastic bottle habit and start making your own sparkling water at home, then you may also appreciate the convenience of an Aarke soda maker.

Though we like more affordable options like Sodastream, we think Aarke’s elegant appearance may be more attractive to people who want to prioritize design and aesthetics. With Aarke, your eyes won’t get tired of looking at your soda maker for years to come.

Get the Aarke Carbonator III in Copper at Food52 for $249

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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