Reviews you can trust.

See why.

Home Seltzer Makers

Home seltzer makers that transform still water into sparkling promise clear advantages over buying bottled seltzer from the store. We put four models to the test.

UpdateSeptember 2020

Our favorite home seltzer maker by SodaStream has been discontinued, as has our runner-up by Cuisinart. Stay tuned; a new review will soon be available!

Top Picks

Winner

SodaStream Source

$99.95
See Everything We Tested

What We Learned

Home seltzer makers transform tap water into sparkling, without the hassle and waste of store-bought bottles. A few years ago, we recommended the SodaStream Penguin Starter Kit as well as a cheaper model that has since been recalled. For a new, less expensive option, we tried two countertop machines, which carbonate with a few presses of a lever, and two handheld designs, which rely on a twist top to release the carbon dioxide into the bottle; they’re priced from about $50.00 to $130.00.

All four models included an initial supply of CO2 cartridges and produced sparkling water that was crisp, clean, and refreshing. Depending on the amount of CO2 used, the bubbles ranged from bold and effervescent to light, gentle carbonation. And their fizz wasn’t fleeting: After four days of pouring off glasses of water and returning the half-empty closed bottles to the fridge, we noticed that the carbonation gradually decreased but never fell flat for all four samples.

In terms of design, we much preferred the convenience of the countertop models, which hold large CO2 cartridges that can produce dozens of liters before needing to be changed (at a cost of about $0.50 per liter) and whose designs made it easy to customize levels of carbonation. Handheld models, by contrast, were smaller and cost less up front but were fussier to operate—and more expensive over time. Their single-use CO2 cartridges must be replaced for every liter of seltzer, so you wind up paying about $0.70 to $0.80 per liter. Even worse, neither handheld model made the carbonation level easily customizable. One had a tiny, hard-to-grip dial, and both required an additional step of shaking the just-carbonated bottles for maximum fizz. Another minor inconvenience: We had to clean up drips from removing the carbonating wand after making each bottle of seltzer.

Though we liked both countertop machines, one model was the clear winner. A one-push mechanism locked the bottle in place (the other unit twisted on, which was sometimes tricky), and a light-up display clearly indicated how much carbonation we’d added. But what really broke the tie: Empty cartridges can be exchanged at dozens of retailers for 50 percent off the price of new cartridges. We’ll drink to that.

Everything We Tested

Good Fair Poor 

Highly Recommended

Recommended

Recommended with reservations

Not Recommended

*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

Reviews you can trust

The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.