1. Use a CO2 tank
The exchange of carbonators is part of SodaStream’s business model and gives them a significant amount of profit. Hence, there are cheaper methods of getting CO2 tanks refilled. Unfortunately, when doing so, you’re faced with the challenge of finding a tank that will work with SodaStream machines which are designed to only accept SodaStream carbonators. Luckily adapters exist that can be used to attach regular CO2 tanks to your SodaStream machine. Combined with refilling your CO2 tanks at a homebrew store that provides cheap and food grade CO2, you can save a significant portion of the costs of refilling your SodaStream machine. This method entails a high upfront cost as you need to buy a CO2 tank as well as an adapter but over time you’ll surely recoup the costs. It also involves less work as you simply need to go to the homebrew store to refill your tank once in a while after you’ve setup the system. Since these CO2 tanks can be quite big and carry multiple times the amount of CO2 contained in SodaStream carbonators, you’ll also have to make even less trips to get the tank refilled.
What you’ll need
- Screw the adapter on to your SodaStream soda maker (where you usually screw in the carbonator).
- Attach the other side to your CO2 tank (with the tank off).
- Turn the tank on when you are using the SodaStream and off when you are not.
- Make sure to clear the hose between uses.
2. Use SodaMod Tanks
Instead of using standard SodaStream CO2 carbonators, it is possible to use SodaMod CO2 tanks instead. While this process requires an adapter, many local sporting goods stores or paintball stores will refill your SodaMod tank for less than it would cost to exchange a SodaStream carbonator (around $3). The advantage of using a SodaMod tank over paintball tanks are that they thoroughly cleaned and certified for use with beverages. On the other hand, regular paintball tanks are often dirty and can contain contaminants such as benzene which can be a serious health concern. For this reason, I would caution against using paintball tanks. Another bonus is that many SodaMod tanks fit inside the actual SodaStream machines, reducing the need for extra storage. Once again, you’ll need an adapter to be able to connect the SodaMod tank to the SodaStream machine. You should also make sure that wherever you’re getting your tanks refilled, to ask whether the CO2 is food grade.
What you’ll need
- SodaStream/Paintball tank adapter
- 1/16″ allen wrench
- SodaMod Tank
- Screw the adapter onto the paintball tank.
- Adjust the adapter so that it is level using the allen wrench. To do so, turn clockwise until it stops and then counter-clockwise for 1/2 turn.
- Screw the paintball tank with the adapter where you usually screw your SodaStream carbonator
3. Use Dry Ice
Since dry ice is the solid form of CO2, it can be used to provide all the carbonation your drinks need. That’s why it can be used to refill your SodaStream carbonators. By putting some in a carbonator, and leaving it at room temperature, it will sublimate and turn into gas which can then be used to carbonate your drinks. This process is much cheaper than going for a carbonator exchange since dry ice can be had for less than $3 per pound. Each pound of dry ice is rougly enough to refill a 60L carbonator which usually costs $15 to exchange, saving you $12 per exchange. Before starting, you’ll need to find a local business that can supply you with dry ice. When doing so make sure to ask them whether the dry ice is food grade or not and if explain to them what you’re planning to do with it to make sure that it’s safe for consumption. Once you’ve found a supplier and bought the dry ice in a cooler, make sure you have all the required items and follow the steps in the video to refill your carbonator at a fraction of the price. Make sure to use caution when handling dry ice (gloves) since contact with your skin is damaging. Among the DIY methods, the dry ice one requires the least upfront costs but takes more work than the others.
What you’ll need
- Gloves, oven mitts or a towel to handle the dry ice
- Dry ice
- Adjustable wrench
- Kitchen scale
- Something to scoop the dry ice with
- Sledgehammer and towel (if dry ice isn’t in pellet form)
- Empty SodaStream carbonator
- Always use gloves during the process
- If the dry ice isn’t already crushed into a size that will allow it to fit into the carbonator, place it under a towel and hit it with a hammer to crush it.
- Take the empty carbonator and unscrew the small safety valve with the wrench to let out all remaining CO2.
- Unscrew the bigger main valve with the wrench and make sure that the rubber gasket isn’t damaged.
- Put the empty carbonator with the funnel on the scale and measure the weight.
- Check the CO2 weight that is written on the bottom of the carbonator. Scoop dry ice into the carbonator until its weight is equal to the CO2 weight written on the carbonator (410g for the 60L one) plus the weight of the empty carbonator and the scale. Put just a little bit less since an overfilled carbonator can be dangerous. If the funnel becomes clogged, poke it with the chopstick.
- Once that weight is reached, screw on the main valve and the small safety valve. Tighten them but not too much with the wrench.
- Leave the bottle at room temperature so that the CO2 can reach room temperature. Roughly a few hours. Your carbonator is now refilled!