Sparkling water and sodas are both popular drink choices on the market today. The recent invention of personal carbonation machines has allowed people to make sparkling water and soda in the comfort of their own homes, saving a trip to the grocery store. The most famous of these machines is arguably SodaStream, which has seen celebrity endorsements in the years since its initial launch in the early 2000s. However, as is common, once a new idea hits the market competition begins to form. One of the largest competitors for SodaStream has been DrinkMate, and debate has begun over which brand is better.
Being carbonation machines, the biggest allure to both SodaStream and DrinkMate is the ability to make sparkling water and soda in the comfort of your own home. With SodaStream, the company sells various syrups that can be added to the water in order to give the drink flavor. The flavors range from various types of soda to fruity flavors like lemon, watermelon, mango, and orange among others. However, DrinkMate advertises that their machine can carbonate drinks other than water. Ranging from iced tea, coffee, energy drinks, and even alcohol, DrinkMate offers more options for carbonation compared to SodaStream, who discourages users from trying to carbonate anything but water.
Both machines look very similar, though there are differences in the designs. The SodaStream One Touch measures 6 x 10.8 x 17.3 inches, and the machine uses a 1L bottle. The machine has a thin base with a bulkier top, allowing the user to slot the bottle right into the machine. The One Touch comes in two colors, black and white. The DrinkMate measures 8 x 5 x 16 inches, making it slimmer and slightly shorter than the One Touch. The DrinkMate also uses a 1L bottle, and the machine itself has a thin base and a thinner top than the SodaStream. This allows room for the fizz infuser that attaches to the bottle. The DrinkMate comes in three colors, Black, White, and Red.
When it comes to operation, SodaStream makes the process simple. The SodaStream One Touch Electric only requires users to slot the bottle into place before choosing their level of fizziness. The One Touch comes with three buttons on the top which indicate the amount of carbonation desired, and once the bottle is in place the user can touch whichever button they want and sit back. With DrinkMate, the process is more complex. The user must first attach a fizz infuser to the bottle to attach it to the DrinkMate machine. In order to get different amounts of carbonation, you have to do multiple rounds instead of being able to push a specific button. Installing the carbonating cylinder is very similar for both brands. After removing the backplate of the machine, the carbonating cylinder is twisted into the release valve.
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Cleanup is very easy with DrinkMate, as the fizz infuser itself prevents the drink from bubbling over and creating spills. When finished, all that’s required is to clean the bottle itself and the fizz infuser. With SodaStream, the machine has no defense against overflow, which means that the chance of spillage is higher. This creates a larger cleanup, as not only the bottle has to be cleaned, but the counter around the machine as well.
When it comes to the price, there is very little difference, though the bundles themselves have variations. The SodaStream One Touch retails for $119.99 on the website, and the starter pack comes with the machine, a 60L carbonating cylinder, 1L bottle, free shipping, and a 3 year warranty. The DrinkMate retails for $114.99 on their website, and their starter pack comes with the machine, a 10L starter carbonator, 1L bottle, the fizz infuser, and a 2 year warranty. Compared to the One Touch, this package offers a much smaller carbonating cylinder, no free shipping, and a shorter warranty.
However, when looking at the long term costs, a larger difference starts to show. DrinkMate offers a 2-pack of 60L carbonating cylinders for $68.99. SodaStream offers single refills of the carbonating cylinders for only $29.99, however they also offer a gas exchange program. If the old cylinder is returned, the company only charges $14.99 for the new cylinder, and offers a prepaid UPS label to ship back the empty cylinder. This means that in the span of a year, if a person uses one cylinder a month, they would need to pay over $400 to DrinkMate for new cylinders. Meanwhile, with SodaStream’s exchange, a person would pay less than $200 for the same supply. However, since both machines take a 60L cylinder, it is possible to use SodaStream cylinders with a DrinkMate machine. This would allow DrinkMate users to save over half their yearly costs.
Both SodaStream and Drinkmate have been reviewed by various publications, and the outcome has been overall positive for both brands. An article from Wirecutter chose SodaStream as the overall winner, but also lauded DrinkMate for its ability to carbonate drinks other than flavored water. The Strategist also had a positive review of both companies, highlighting the flexibility of the DrinkMate as well as its budget friendliness. The reviewer praises the reliability of the SodaStream, recommending it for “maximum fizz with minimal effort”.
User reviews have also been overwhelmingly positive for the two products. SodaStream’s website hosts a large group of reviews from customers, who are able to describe their personal experiences with the brand. One user wrote, “I love the ease and the taste of the Sodastream! This is the best purchase I’ve ever made since I drink sparkling water constantly. I’m saving money and time and I I don’t ever have to worry about running out of my water. It’s the greatest invention!” The SodaStream One Touch is also sold through Amazon, where it has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 and 71% of the reviews are 5 stars. DrinkMate only has one review on its official website, but it is a positive one. The user wrote, “Better than Sodastream at carbonating whiskey!!!” DrinkMate also sells their products through Amazon, where it holds a 4.2 out of 5 rating. Out of the reviews, 68% of them are five stars.
In the areas of long term cost, ease of operation, and reviews, it appears SodaStream is still the preferred choice. But for those looking for a machine that can do more, the DrinkMate is a solid competitor. As the years progress and these two companies continue to innovate, we may see even more changes in the personal carbonation industry and what these products are capable of.