If you love sparkling water, a home soda machine saves you lots of time, storage space, money and makes sure you always have your favorite water drink available.
That's an easy question to answer: because it's convenient!
As I wrote in my article Drinking Water is one of the most important and easiest habits you can implement for your health.
What if you don't like plain old water? Well, there's still hope for you! Personally I love the bubbly taste of sparkling soda water. But dragging along heavy water crates isn't one of my favorite occupations :-(
As a busy mother, you don't have the time and strength to carry heavy water crates home once or twice a week. At least I didn't. I was busy enough carrying a baby and all that stuff that comes along with it, I didn't need any extra weight.
When I was introduced to a soda maker at work, the idea of having my own home soda machine sounded perfect. After doing some research we decided for a the most popular brand and bought a SodaStream Dynamo in red as you can see in the picture above.
We were lucky: where I live, the tap water quality and purity is excellent and even surpasses that of some bottled mineral water brands. It has even been awarded the label "safe for baby food". If your tap water isn't stellar and is heavily supplemented with chemicals like fluoride or chlorine, you might have to invest into a good water filter before using it to make sparkling water.
That question isn't easy to answer. There are several opinions what is best to use with your home soda machine and it's mostly a personal decision.
Once we had decided we wanted a SodaStream, the next task was to decide on the fundamental question: Glass or Water.
It's really up to you, what you think is best. By the way, all SodaStream bottles are BPA-free!
After weighing all pros and cons, we opted for the plastic bottles and generally I'm happy with that decision. Sometimes I'd like to have the more fancy glass carafes. But when I see, that we drink at least 2 bottles of sparkling water for dinner I'm glad I don't have to prepare 3 or 4 of the glass carafes and put them all on the table.
There's one thing though that is essential for me: always buy the (more expensive) dishwasher safe PEN bottles. With small kids in the house, it's a must. In the picture above you can see that the dishwasher safe bottle to the right is blue-ish, while the other one is transparent.
The first choice you have already made by deciding whether to use glass or plastic bottles.
For glass bottles you have currently the option between two home soda machines: the Crystal and the Penguin. The Penguin soda maker is much more popular, even though it's slightly more expensive. Probably due to the rounded shape.
For plastic bottles you have a much wider variety: Fountain Jet (cheapest model), Genesis, Dynamo, Fizz, Pure, and Source. Which one you chose is basically up to your taste. All of them work great.
We chose the Dynamo soda fountain machine (big picture above) for five reasons:
Check on Amazon.com for great bargains an all the SodaStream models, or buy directly at Sodastream.com.
When you first buy the carbonators they are quite expensive. Buying online is mostly not available, because they are considered "hazardous material" and are subject to special handling rules. Currently Amazon seems to be the only place which sells carbonators online (but no returns allowed).
Once you have your carbonator, the re-fill or better exchange for a full one is easy. Virtually every supermarket carries them.
I would recommend not to use any of the flavors and syrups offered. They're definitely not giving you any healthy benefits. The syrups consist primarily of sugar, natural and artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. Oh yes, and they add about 120 calories per 8oz glass.
If you absolutely have to use the flavors, do so only once a day and not for your total sparkling water consumption.