You won’t make savings before nine gas cylinder refills
The SodaStream Art is a wonderful retro-feel machine for those who like their drinks to sparkle and want to cut down on plastic waste and save energy. Buy this model for its lovely design and pleasing lever mechanism.
Slim, elegant, somewhat swan-like, the SodaStream Art is a modern riff on the classic soda syphon. Standing at 16.9in/ 43cm tall, in glossy black with a chrome trim, the Art is entirely mechanical, so you don’t need to plug it in.
Add to that, SodaStream’s range of artisanal cordials that rival some of the best-known brands, and it is time to forget all your 1980s’ SodaStream associations and get back into home carbonation.
Design and set up
Manual lever operation
May be too tall to fit beneath kitchen cabinets
In the box, you’ll get the SodaStream Art, a manual, a one-litre dishwasher-safe bottle, the bottle cap and a Quick Connect CO2 canister.
You’ll immediately notice that the Art has no plug, and I must admit that, at first, I was somewhat wary of an appliance that didn’t require any kind of power input. What can I say? We review tech.
The machine itself is lovely. It has a base roughly 9in/ 23cm long and about 5.5in/ 14cm wide at the largest point, a long upright body at an ever-so-slight slant and a head fronted in plastic so glossy that you can see your face in it, all framed by a chrome trim.
We’re testing the black model, but in the US, it’s also available in white, red or pale blue. In the UK, the options are limited to black or white.
To the right is the chrome and black lever you use to dispense the gas, and underneath the head is the chrome Snap & Lock rest that enables you to fit the SodaStream bottle neck into the gas dispenser.
The only slight issue is that at 16.9in/ 43cm high, some may find the Art is a touch too tall to fit between their kitchen countertop and the bottom of their wall cabinets, particularly if they have an ornamental trim.
Setting up the Art is a simple business. Unpack it, take off the back of the machine and flip up the black hatch. You then take the Quick Connect cylinder, unwrap the top and pull off the cap, place the bottom of the cylinder into the Art, slip the neck into the framework, and fold down the hatch – it’s an instant connection. All that’s left to do is put the panel back on the machine.
The whole process is very simple. As there’s no need to be near a plug point, you can position your Art anywhere you want.
How to use the SodaStream Art
Enjoyable to use
Easy to adjust carbonation level
Take the supplied SodaStream carbonating bottle, fill it with 840ml of fresh tap water, and tilt the bottle rest forward. Then insert the bottle into the snap lock mechanism and push it up and back.
All that’s left to do is push the lever all the way down and hold it for one second. If you want a standard level of sparkle, you do this three times; for a strong level of sparkle, you do this five times.
And the result?
A standard sparkle is very much like the level of carbonation you get in a typical soda you might buy at a supermarket. The strong sparkle, however, is the kind of super sparkle that makes your mouth tingle and sends you right back to when you were about seven years old and were allowed to have your first-ever lemonade.
It’s the kind of fizz that makes you smile – it’s a sip of pure fun, belonging to the world of Sherbet Fountains and rice paper Flying Saucers.
There’s something so delightfully retro about using the Art lever to carbonate your water. Pressing a button seems a bit boring in comparison.
Of course, at this point, you just have carbonated water, which you can use however you like, but SodaStream also stocks a variety of cordials.
Depending on whether you’re in the US or the UK, SodaStream flavours vary but include Pepsi, 7-Up, root beer, tonic and ginger ale in original and diet forms.
But it’s SodaStream’s Press and Organic range that surprised us. In the UK, you can choose from the classics of old-fashioned lemonade and ginger ale, alongside new flavours such as Raspberry and Mint, Organic Crisp Apple, Organic Blackberry Bliss, Organic Summer Orange and a Kombucha with Passionfruit and Mandarin. There’s a slightly different selection available in the US.
We tested the Crisp Apple and the Summer Orange, and were seriously impressed. The Crisp Apple tastes distinctly of Appletiser, and the Summer Orange has that slightly bitter Seville kick that you would expect from a premium artisanal brand.
Price and availability
Buy bundles with bottle and gas cylinder or just the machine
Shop around for the best deals
In the US, the SodaStream website stocks all colour options
In the US, you can buy the Art from SodaStream for $149.99. It comes in four colour options – black, white, red and pale blue – and comes with a one-litre dishwasher safe bottle and quick connect gas cylinder to start you off. There are more bundle options available.
Amazon also sells similar bundle sets and, at the time of writing, these are slightly cheaper, but the Art machines are black only. If you only want the machine itself, Walmart has a good deal on the white model, which is on sale for $107.99.
In the UK, you can buy it from £149.99 from SodaStream for the starter bundle, which includes a dishwasher-safe plastic bottle and gas cylinder. A similar deal is available from Currys and Argos. SodaStream also has other bundles available, with more bottles and flavourings.
If you just want the machine itself, your best best at the time of writing is to buy from Amazon where it currently costs £94.99.
But don’t forget that once you have the machine, you’re locked into buying gas cylinders. The Art uses Quick Connect canisters, which cost around $16.99 plus shipping/ £12.99 plus a refundable £10 deposit for each order.
In the US, you can exchange your cylinders online or locate a store to do so in person via the SodaStream website. Or you can buy cylinders from retailers including Walmart and Amazon, although this may be more expensive. You can also opt for a subscription direct from SodaStream, which is probably the best option for regular users.
In the UK, you can buy new cylinders from SodaStream, or from many major supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s, Ocado or Asda, with the return deposit system in place. Don’t forget to check beforehand that they stock the Quick Connect cylinders.
One Quick Connect canister is said to deliver up to 60 litres of sparkling water, so even at supermarket own brand sparkling water costs of roughly 3.5p per 100ml in UK prices, you’ll save about 50% through using a SodaStream cylinder instead of buying plastic bottles of sparkling water.
Of course, there’s still the cost of the Art machine itself to factor in, but we reckon you will start to save overall once you have replaced the cylinder nine times – and you don’t have the plastic bottle waste of store-purchased water.
You can buy additional bottles from SodaStream and other suppliers. If you go for a BPA-free bottle though, you won’t be able to put it in the dishwasher.
SodaStream has a number of other models available. We’ve reviewed the plug-in, light-up E-Terra, which is a fun, easy-to-use machine that would be a great option if you have kids.
If you’re not wedded to the SodaStream brand, we’ve also tested the Drinkmate OmniFizz, which has the advantage of being able to carbonate any drink you choose (and that includes milk – we tested it).
If you drink a lot of sparkling water or you like your cold drinks to have a little fizz, we recommend you consider a SodaStream. You may save money in the long run and will definitely cut down your plastic recycling waste, but you’ll also free up your fridge and kitchen storage space without losing a plug point.
We think the Art is a great buy. If you are a sparkling water lover, go for it.