Ever since it launched its first homemade sparkling water machine back in 2014, Aarke, just like other competitors such as SodaStream or DrinkMate, is trying to constantly improve its soda making machines and present new versions of their flagship models every now and then.
During the last quarter of 2020, Aarke introduced its newest model: the Aarke III.
Our team of experts has taken the time to test this new model – we bought, set it up, examined its parts, and most important tasted the soda and replaced carbonators over and over again- all in order to bring you the most comprehensive review of the Aarke 3 model.
Well…. The first thing that most of us would agree on, is that it is just a beautiful piece. The Swedish company managed to design a soda maker that looks elegant, modern, and stylish. We would dare to say that it is a nice addition to the countertop for most of the kitchens, and those days when you had to hide the plasticky soda maker back in the closet after usage are definitely over.
We bought the matte black model which for some might look a bit “solid”, but the Aarke III is available in 5 other colors as well:
Black Chrome, white, gold, steel, and copper, which in our opinion is absolutely gorgeous.
Aarke 3 vs. Aarke 2
Besides the slick design, there are couple of things which distinguish the Aarke 3 from the previous model (Aarke 2):
Materials – the first thing which comes to the eye is the fact that the Aarke 3 has much more steel parts than the usual plastic ones. This is much more than a cosmetic change: The Stainless-steel nozzle is more solid and stable, and the overall feeling is that the carbonating process is more accurate than before. The plastic bottom of the bottles was also replaced with a metal one.
On the other hand, those stainless steel parts tend to be shiny and polished at the beginning, and then look scratchy and “foggy” later on. After 2 months of usage, ours is still bright, but if you are not a stainless-steel lover, you’d better avoid this model.
The bottles – the fresh design didn’t skip the PET bottles. Those new bottles have a new metal base and a screw-in mechanism which, according to the company is designed without any glue thus allowing better recycling of the bottles at the end of their lifetime. The refine shaped bottles are easy to hold even when full, yet there was no drastic change felt compared to the old ones.
Make sure your bottles are not cracked (can happen!) otherwise you might get a really poor carbonation.
Lever Damper- the lever sensitivity is crucial when using such a soda carbonating machine. A lever that is too hard to press is tiring, might limit some people from using the machine, and takes all the fun of the soda making process. More importantly, it controls the amount of gas used for carbonating and therefore has a major impact on the frequency of carbonator cartridge replacement. Aarke has made a great job with this new lever damper, which is easy to use and allows a more controlled release of pressure from the bottle after carbonation is complete. The carbonating process with damper is obviously different than Sodastream’s “push of a button” but even our eleven-year-old tester (and taster!) managed to complete the carbonation without any significant difficulty.
In terms of size, the Arrke 3 is the same size as the Aarke II: it is 6″ W x 10.2″ L x 16.3″ H, weight 6.34 Pounds and just like the other soda carbonating machines in this category, would not take a lot of space on your counter.
The setup of the machine and carbonating process stays exactly the same. For those of you who have Aarke III as their first ever soda making machine, follow those steps:
Setting up Your Aarke Carbonator III
Time needed: 7 minutes.
How to setup Aarke Carbonator III
- Remove the dripping water tray
- Insert the gas cylinder inside the machine
Do this through its bottom, and fasten it tightly by screwing counterclockwise
- Return the dripping water tray to its place
- Fill the bottle with cold water up to the filling line
Do not add juice or syrup at this stage!
- Attach the bottle to the machine by screwing counterclockwise
- Pull down the lever until you hear the carbonating sound
- Slowly release the lever
Letting the lever go only halfway up at the end of each carbonation ‘cycle’, which saves gas if repeating the cycle more than once
- Repeat that up to 3 times to determine the level of desired bubbling
- Unscrew the bottle
Testing the Aarke Carbonator III
Our team tested the Aarke 3 during the last months and reports that on average a CO2 carbonator was able to produce 58-59L of aggressive bubbling sparkling water. That is quite efficient yet remember that the amount of soda per gas cylinder really depends on how strong you like your soda water. Light bubbling soda fans would be able to produce almost 3-4L more from each cylinder.
If we already mentioned carbonator cylinders- have in mind that when you order the machine, it DOES NOT come with any cylinder. The Aarke III is using the standard 60L Sodastream CO2 cartridges which are available online almost anywhere, and in our opinion, it is a shame that such cylinder is not supplied as part of the purchase.
In fact, when you buy Aarke III, it includes besides the machine itself only 1 PET bottle. This is quite disappointing as well, as we would expect that Aarke would treat those customers who chose to go with a top-notch machine a bit better. Furthermore, the new BPA free bottles are frequently out of stock, which makes the situation even more tricky. Luckily, we have tried and managed to have the SodaStream bottles working with this machine as well (not the slim ones!), yet it is not ideal. Remember that the PET bottles are not suitable for dishwashers and should be cleaned manually.
Basic Kits for the Aarke Carbonator III
You might be able to find in some online stores extended kits:
STARTER-KIT: Includes machine, 1 PET bottle & 1 Sodastream gas cylinder.
PRO-KIT: Includes machine, 2 PET bottles & 2 Sodastream gas cylinders.
In our opinion, you’d better stick to the basic purchase since both the cylinders and the bottles can be bought online separately at lower prices than offered on those packages.
The price for Aarke 3 varies from 219$ to 249$, depending on the color. It is great to see that Aarke offers this new model in a lower price range than the Aarke 2, which is sold for 230$ for standard colors and up to 350$ for some colors. We believe it is a great value for the price, yet have in mind that there are great other soda makers that are cheaper, like the Sodastream Onetouch.
TL;DR about the Aarke Carbonator III
Design – Beautiful, functional, sleek, and modern. No doubt it is a 5 stars design
Ease of use – very good. The new lever damper makes it a real pleasure.
Heavy-duty – the additional stainless-steel parts turn this model a good candidate for heavy-duty usage but it still early to say. We will update in the future.
Carbonation – Efficient.
Taste – Perfect.
Accessories – provided with no gas cylinder and only 1 bottle. Requires additional purchases
Price – not cheap (starting from 219$) but good value for money