Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Like many people, I am obsessed with sparkling water. What was an addiction to Diet Coke changed when I started making healthier choices and discovered the deliciousness that is LaCroix.
Before I knew it, I was going through two to three cans per day. Unfortunately, my wallet was feeling the strain.
I shopped around to find the best deals, and eventually purchased a SodaStream home carbonation system to see if it would be a cheaper and more efficient way to feed my addiction. Here’s what I found out.
The Cost of SodaStream
The most basic SodaStream model costs $99.99 from Target (as of July 2022), though you may be lucky enough to find one on sale. It comes with a full CO2 canister and a plastic carbonating bottle. (You can get a better model with a one-touch button for $129.99, but the extra cost wasn’t worth it to me.) With the model I chose, I have to push down on a button several times depending on the level of fizziness I want to achieve. (That’d be five for me because I love fizz.)
If a canister of CO2 lasts me three weeks, that means I’m replacing them about 18 times per year if I consistently drink a large quantity of sparkling water. That’s a total annual cost of $270 for the canisters, plus the initial cost of $99.99 plus tax. Total annual cost: About $370.
The cost of the water was negligible because I use tap water that I already pay for through my city utilities bill.
The first CO2 canister lasted me about three weeks with fairly continual use. After that, I took the empty canister back to Target’s Guest Services and exchanged it for a full one. Doing this saves you money — up to 50%, according to Target. When I traded mine in, I paid $15 for a new canister filled with CO2; buying a full canister without one to trade in costs $29.99.
Is SodaStream Cheaper Than Buying Cans?
In short, yes, it is cheaper, though it depends on how much bubbly water you drink. If your family goes through 120 to 140 cans a month, you could easily save more than $500 a year by using SodaStream. And that’s even if you buy the seltzer water at a discount warehouse like Costco.
As a fairly thrifty person, I’ve never been the type to buy full-price cans of name-brand sparkling water from the grocery store. Rather, I used my Costco membership to my advantage to test out the different sparkling waters they sell and see which one offers the best taste for the best price.
A case of 24 cans of lime-flavored LaCroix costs $12.69 at my local Costco. Let’s say my husband and I get through five or six cases per month (around 120 to 144 cans — yikes!). That means we’re spending $63 to $76 per month, or $756 to $912 per year.
LaCroix isn’t the only choice out there. Another brand I purchase quite often is bubly, which sells for around $4.50 for a pack of eight at my local Kroger. If we get through 120 to 144 cans each month, that would cost us $67.50 to $81 per month, or $810 to $972 per year. It’s worth noting that I can often find bubly brand sparkling water on sale at Kroger, which would decrease those costs if I stock up during sales.
- Total annual cost for LaCroix: $756 to $912
- Total annual cost for bubly: $810 to $972
Overall, using a device like SodaStream can save you money on sparkling water if you drink it often enough. If you can make your SodaStream last several years, you’ll only pay for the canisters, which reduces your cost to $270 per year — over $500 less than a year’s supply of LaCroix sparkling water.
The other benefit of switching to SodaStream is that you’re producing less waste, thus reducing pollution and dependence on fossil fuels. Four cases of LaCroix sparkling water produce 96 cans on their own that are sent to landfills or maybe recycled.
And while aluminum is a much better option than plastic when it comes to recycling, it’s still waste you wouldn’t produce if you used a SodaStream.
If space is a concern in your home and you don’t want to have multiple cans hanging out in your recycling bin until trash day, a SodaStream could be a good option. Just make sure you have the counter space in your kitchen since it’ll be out on display at all times if you’re using it consistently.
Pros and Cons of a SodaStream
- SodaStream allows you to cut back on sugar. You can buy sugar-free syrups to add to sparkling water to make it taste like cola, ginger ale or Dr Pepper.
- SodaStream produces less waste than purchasing cans of sparkling water or soda.
- You know exactly what you’re drinking when you make your own sparkling water.
- SodaStream is cheaper overall than purchasing cans of sparkling water from brands like LaCroix and bubly.
- The gadget takes up counter space, which can be hard to swallow if you’re already starting with a small kitchen and minimal counter space.
- You have to plan ahead to refill your canister, or you may end up without sparkling water for a few days.
- Like any kitchen gadget, SodaStream can break down or develop mold if not cleaned regularly.
- The bubbles from SodaStream water may not last as long as commercial sparkling water, especially if you don’t drink it right away.
Making the Choice
For me, it came down to convenience. As a full-time working mother of two young and highly energetic kids, I found it hard to be able to replace my CO2 canister right after it ran out, and would end up waiting a few days or even a week before I had time to get to Target for a replacement.
I would, therefore, stock up on cans of sparkling water to tide me over until I could make the Target run and use my SodaStream again. I found myself using it less and less, and it eventually made its way into the basement in favor of pre-carbonated cans of water.
If you have the counter space for a SodaStream and can get organized enough to refill your canisters in a timely manner, SodaStream is a good option to help save money on sparkling water.
But if you’re a casual soda or sparkling water drinker and don’t get through as much as my household does, it might be more cost-effective to stick to buying cans of your favorite beverage and leave your countertops free for other fun kitchen gadgets, like that air fryer you’ve been eyeing.