At its core, a sparkling water maker is a specialized consumer-grade appliance designed to infuse carbonation into regular tap water (also known as still water). As its name suggests, this simple process results in a consistent source of sparkling water, a refreshing beverage that most individuals obtain in cans and bottles from the store.
Sparkling water makers are not unlike home coffee makers in their ability to add convenience to your daily routine while decreasing the cost (ecologically and financially) of enjoying your favorite beverage. Along the same lines, individuals and families that consume a moderate volume of sparkling water per week can benefit from the inclusion of sparkling water maker in their kitchen.
Convenience and cost-saving are not the only reasons to strongly consider a sparkling water maker, though. Sparkling water itself is packed with potential health benefits, many of which result from its core carbonated content. However, unlike soda, these carbonated benefits do not come at the cost of simultaneously consuming moderate volumes of sugar.
As a result, sparkling water contains few to no calories at all. Like still water, sparkling water is also infinitely customizable and can be flavored with everything from store-bought powders to fresh fruits. This, in turn, can make sparkling water a refreshing alternative for those who are not satisfied by drinking plain still water while exercising.
Scientifically, a variety of potential health benefits have also been connected to sparkling water (homemade or otherwise). For example, sparkling water has shown promise when it comes to digestively regulating those that drink it on a regular basis. At the same time, sparkling water is nearly 100 times less corrosive on teeth than comparable soft drinks.
Sparkling water is picking up in popularity today as folks look for a healthier alternative to soda consumption. For this reason and many more, a sparkling water maker may well be one of the most positive investments you make in your everyday health this year.
Because of its extremely simple nature, there are quite a few beverages that can fit under the broad umbrella of “carbonated water.” In nearly all cases, these beverages (and their numerous names) are used to describe still water that has, through a natural or industrial process, been infused with carbon dioxide gas (including potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, or potassium sulfate, among others).
This full process results in a fizzy and bubbly texture within the water. Those looking to purchase a sparkling water maker for their home should know and understand these terms so that they can pick out a model that produces the precise type of carbonated water to meet their needs.
Sparkling water is the most basic form of carbonated water. In its base form, no other components or processes are needed to produce sparkling water beyond the original carbonation process. Depending on the geographic region or intended use, sparkling water may also be known as soda water, seltzer, or seltzer water.
Sparkling water can be further “enhanced,” however, often through the infusion of minerals during the carbonation process. This results in so-called “sparkling mineral water,” which itself carries a different flavor portfolio and health benefit regimen than standard sparkling water. Only certain types of sparkling water makers are capable of making this type of mineral water.
Club soda is a particular subset of sparkling water that has been carbonated using potassium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, or potassium sulfate. This is done to replicate the taste and texture of natural mineral water without the added cost. Generally speaking, club soda is a marketing term used to distinguish sparkling waters sold for use in alcoholic beverages.
Finally, “tonic water” is sometimes used as shorthand for “sparkling water,” even though they are constitutionally different from one another. Tonic water is carbonated with only quinine, a bitter substance that was historically used as a prophylactic against malaria. Though it is enjoyed on its own, tonic water is usually sold alongside club soda as a mixer for alcoholic beverages (such as the gin and tonic).
1Sparkling water makers provide a low-calorie beverage for the health-conscious. Sparkling water is often hailed not for what it adds to one’s diet, but what it subtracts. Chief among those subtractions is the removal of calories from your beverage intake. That is because sparkling water contains few to no calories whatsoever (depending on the precise process and flavoring additives used) (1).
This lack of calories is especially noteworthy at mealtime when many dieters inadvertently take in calories through their chosen beverage. A can of cola, for example, contains some 227 calories on average. Even a healthy option like tea can add nearly 180 calories. As such, sparkling water can be consumed as is or supplemented with some flavoring to minimize one’s mealtime calorie consumption.
2Sparkling water makers are an excellent alternative to soda. As one might expect, sparkling water is among the chief alternatives to soda dieters turn to when they want to cut out sugar excess while maintaining the look and feel of soda. Sparkling water accomplishes this aspiration because it is still a fizzy, bubbly drink that hasn’t been mixed with any of the syrups and preservatives negatively associated with soda pop.
To this end, plain sparkling water contains no sugar whatsoever. That’s a stark contrast compared to an average can of cola, which contains 39g of sugar in total. Sparkling water doesn’t even contain artificial sweeteners, which carry health risks of their own (2).
As such, this fully sugar-free beverage is ideal for regulating your children’s (or your own) daily sugar intake.
3Sparkling water makers help with caffeine addiction. As with sugar, sparkling water is naturally caffeine-free. While this may sound disappointing to those in need of their daily pick-me-up, drinking sparkling water can be a great way to kick a troublesome caffeine habit. While the beverage alone has not been scientifically proven to provide this benefit, you can accomplish this goal by regulating what (if anything) you add to your sparkling water.
In other words, you can choose to minimize your caffeine intake by only adding flavorings that minimize or entirely remove any source of caffeine. Many sparkling water manufacturers make this easy by providing compatible flavoring options that contain far lower caffeine levels than ordinary consumer-oriented beverages (3).
4Sparkling water makers are very personalized. Whether you’re focused on flavor or nutritional content, sparkling water has a lot to provide when it comes to customizability. This is a real benefit to athletic individuals in particular, who are often looking for a reliable method to remain hydrated without having to resort to sugary sports drinks.
Sparkling water comes in clutch here given how easy it is to imbue it with any flavor or mineral you desire. In fact, you could even mask a nutritional load of dissolved mineral supplements in a glass of sparkling water with the help of a drop-in flavoring liquid (available from most sparkling water maker manufacturers).
After a long day at work, you could even use your sparkling water supply to enjoy a relaxing evening beverage. There is a wider variety of alcoholic spritzer recipes available online, so you can always try one out when you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your sparkling water.
5Sparkling water makers greatly reduce tooth decay. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the benefits of drinking sparkling water. In fact, some scientific studies have gone so far as to articulate some health benefits provided to those that regularly enjoy this beverage.
One of the most noteworthy among these health benefits is actually the result of something not found in sparkling water. Because it is naturally free of sugars and other detrimental ingredients, sparkling water can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay compared to its fizzy cousin, soda pop. More specifically, sparkling water is about 100 times less detrimental to tooth enamel, making it a great option for those who want to decrease their risk for cavities (4)
6Sparkling water makers increase healthy digestion. Another study from 2016 has further supported claims that drinking sparkling water may unlock hidden health benefits. In that study, researchers completed a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled experiment (the most rigorous type available) and found that drinking sparkling water can actually increase digestive reliability and regularity.
In particular, the study found that a 3-week regimen of once-daily sparkling water consumption increased both the frequency and consistency of bowel movements. This constipation-relieving quality was attributed to the presence of magnesium sulfate (a known laxative that blocks water absorption during the digestive process) in some types of sparkling water (5).
7Sparkling water makers improve feelings of fullness. Though not a direct health benefit, one 2012 study found that drinking sparkling water can help regulate “fullness” feelings. In other words, the study found that those that consumed sparkling water felt “fuller” (in terms of consumption) compared to those drinking regular water. This benefit could help dieters better regulate their consumption rates both during and between meals (6).
8Sparkling water makers are convenient. After taking note of sparkling water’s various benefits, you’ve probably begun to wonder what advantages come with owning a purpose-built sparkling water maker at home. In fact, one of the chief benefits of sparkling water maker ownership is the ability to produce a personalized supply of this enriched beverage whenever you want.
Simply put, cans and bottles of sparkling cannot match the level of convenience provided by an at-home sparkling water maker. Most of these appliances operate with just a few button presses, so you can always be sure that you’ll have time to fill up a bottle of your new favorite beverage before heading to work or starting a workout.
9Sparkling water makers are an affordable alternative. On its face, you’ll have to invest a little bit of extra cash in order to bring home a sparkling water maker. But you’ll immediately find that this homemade method of producing sparkling water to be much most cost-effective.
While others may be shelling out extra cash to constantly restock their shelves with cans of sparkling water, you’ll be able to make up to 60 liters of the stuff on a single carbonation cylinder charge. Moreover, you won’t have to pay an in-store premium for your new favorite beverage because these cylinders are sold directly by their manufacturer. Combine that with your tap water source, and you have a truly affordable hydration solution.
10Sparkling water makers are eco-friendly. Sparkling water is certainly delectable, but the pile of cans and bottles that may pile up; which is not desirable for the environment. But with the introduction of a sparkling water maker to your home, you can cut every last one of those single-use containers out of your life and focus on using only reusable options for your sparkling water.
1Carbonated water from a sparkling water maker can be acidic. The carbon dioxide present in sparkling water makes it more acidic than normal water. This can be a problem for certain individuals.
For best results, always refer to your sparkling water maker’s owner’s manual. There, you can find tips for keeping your appliance clean and sanitary, as well as information on using your particular model at its peak capacity.
However, there are some general use and maintenance guidelines that apply to nearly all modern sparkling water makers.
Should you run into a problem with your particular model, consider the following methods of resolving your problem: If you are experiencing low or negligible carbonation while the appliance is turned on, retighten your carbonation cylinder and ensure that it is not in need of replacement.
Once a month, wipe down all exterior components of your appliance with a warm, damp cloth. This includes the tap water chamber. Never submerge the full appliance, as this may cause damage to the internal electronics. Wash your dispensary bottles regularly (especially if used with add-in flavor). Always check if your bottles are dishwasher safe before cleaning in this manner.
What is a sparkling water maker? In essence, a sparkling water maker is any free-standing, consumer-grade appliance that can be used to convert tap water into carbonated water, often in a matter of minutes. This process is accomplished through a specialized infusion system, which draws a carbonated gas out of an attached cylinder or cartridge and injects it directly into the attached water container.
Sparkling water produced by this method tastes the same (if not better) than store-bought variants. That being said, it can be enhanced (both in terms of flavor and pharmaceutical additives) with cartridges provided by the appliance’s manufacturer or through an at-home method (such as the addition of cut fruit).
How expensive are sparkling water makers? Like other consumer-grade beverage production appliances, sparkling water makers range in price based upon their overall efficiency and capability when it comes to infusing still water with carbonation. On the low end, a functional sparkling water maker will cost around $50. However, more high-end models can cost as much as $200.
Sparkling water makers also require ongoing costs to operate properly. Most notably, this means replacing the carbonation cylinder or cartridge regularly. Those looking to invest in a sparkling water maker should also factor in these upkeep costs (specifically, the cost of proprietary replacement cylinders) when comparing prospective options.
Is sparkling water healthier than still water and soda? In many ways, sparkling water is among the healthiest beverage options available to consumers for home production today. At its core, sparkling water provides the same degree of hydration as still water, making it a great option for those looking to maintaining their daily energy levels and mental acuity.
Along the same lines, sparkling water contains few to no calories at all (depending on the production method), just like still water. This makes it easier to consume recommended volumes of sparkling water without risking an overage on your calorie counter.
Some studies have even shown that sparkling water, in particular, can help individuals regulate their digestion when suffering from constipation (1). But when compared to soda, sparkling water’s health benefits shine the brightest. Sparkling water lacks the sugar and caffeine of regular soda, making it easier to regulate your intake of both as part of a balanced diet. Also, this decrease in sugar intake has been shown to improve dental health (7).
How does the price of homemade sparkling water compare to store-bought? In terms of up-front cost, a sparkling water maker (at between $50 and $200) costs more than a pack or two of regular or flavored sparkling water (typically $4 to $6 per pack of cans or bottles).
However, a sparkling water maker quickly pays for itself. This is because only the carbonation cylinder requires infrequent replacement, which itself costs fairly little by comparison (as low as $15 as part of a cylinder exchange program). Most consumer-grade carbonation cylinders can be used to infuse as much as 60 gallons of still water, making it a wise investment overall.
Also, in terms of ecological cost, sparkling water makers cut a lot of single-use cans and plastic bottles out of the equation. Most sparkling water maker manufacturers run in-house cylinder recycling programs as well, allowing you to greatly minimize your environmental impact while still enjoying a refreshing, homemade beverage.
What is added into tap water to make it into sparkling water? Though specific infusion combinations will vary from brand to brand, most consumer-grade sparkling water makers accomplish their primary function by dissolving potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, or potassium sulfate into tap water. This results in the bubbly, effervescent qualities associated with sparkling water.
In some cases, healthy minerals are also injected into the water as part of the primary infusion process. In all cases, though, these minerals and dissolved gases are fully safe for human consumption. Nearly all of these components are also used, to some degree, in the soda production process, as well.
How much do replacement carbonation cylinders cost? Most replacement carbonation cylinders are reasonably priced, starting at around $25 per cylinder. However, some sparkling water maker manufacturers encourage ecologically-responsible cylinder replacement methods. As such, they will sometimes cut that price by nearly 50% (to around $15) if you send your old cylinder back to their warehouses for recycling.
To this same end, incompatibility with nonproprietary carbonation cylinders stands as one of the few drawbacks related to sparkling water makers. Because a given maker’s attachment components often are designed to fit only that brand’s cylinder, it is difficult to use an alternative (or generic) brand option. This can add some inconvenience and cost, depending on the ongoing availability of your brand’s carbonation cylinders.
What kinds of bottles are compatible with a sparkling water maker? In most cases, an individual sparkling water maker’s owner’s manual or online listing will describe what kinds of bottles its system is compatible with. In almost all cases, a sparkling water maker is only compatible with bottles that use a specialized cap-and-seal system that is designed to match that model’s carbonation mechanism.
That being said, major sparkling water maker manufacturers typically provide sizing options to fit all types of storage needs. Some brands provide small options optimized for young children as well as 1-liter options for sharing with the whole family.
Can I make other carbonated beverages with a sparkling water maker? Typically, appliances labeled as “sparkling water makers” are not capable of making other carbonated beverages of their own accord (that is, as part of a single-step process). However, some manufacturers provide flavoring options that can be added in following the primary carbonation process.
In addition, devoted carbonated beverage makers exist and are available to consumers. These appliances often use a cartridge-based system to infuse soda flavorings into carbonated water as it is produced. These appliances may be more versatile to fit your needs, given that they can also produce plain sparkling water.
All in all, sparkling water holds a great deal of potential when it comes to providing you worthwhile health benefits (especially if you use it to cut back on your soda consumption). From better teeth to improved digestion, this fizzy water has a lot to offer your everyday wellness.
Of course, simply knowing about these benefits isn’t enough. Rather, you can also add convenience to your sparkling water acquisition process by bringing home a purpose-built sparkling water maker. These devices infuse standard tap water with carbonation, providing it with a soda-like texture that leaves out all of the calories and sugar.
If you’re already a big fan of sparkling water or are simply looking to harness its numerous health benefits for yourself, consider adding a sparkling water maker to your shopping list. These simple devices can make a big difference for your health, your wallet, and the environment at large.