Author Topic: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?  (Read 22180 times)

wealthviahealth

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Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« on: July 06, 2014, 07:32:18 AM »
I have been thinking about picking up one of the entry level sodastreams which has recently gone on sale for $70.
I do not drink soda but love carbonated water and am currently finding it to be helpful with appetite control due to the co2.

I have been grooving on the lacroix naturally flavored waters but recently learned that their cans contain BPA, which I try to avoid as much as possible.

The sodastream carbonator costs $15 to replace once it has gone empty and it is this expense that I most question
" is it worth it?"

For those of you who have tried the soda stream or other alternatives, what do you think?


Grateful Stache

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 08:08:38 AM »
I'm sure others will chime in, but I would hardly call a Sodastream 'healthy.'

If it's carbonated water you're after, you can buy an old-school seltzer bottle for $30.

Cheers.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 08:20:33 AM »
Our house has a sodastream problem.

We used to have a bottled seltzer problem.

Before that we had a coke 0 problem.

Before that, well, you don't want to know.

Our sodastream usage works out to be $0.13 / liter, which is pretty good.  We definitely drink more water than we used to, so that's a health plus.

I'm about to embark on a modification of the sodastream to use a normal kegerator co2 bottle.  That should improve the efficiency to around $0.013 / liter.  At that point... I'll no longer pay attention to how much we use it.

NinetyFour

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 08:25:18 AM »
I don't understand the whole "Gotta have the bubbles" thing.  So my vote is "waste of money".  Just drink tap water.

On the other hand, I drink coffee and tea (in addition to lots of water), so someone could easily tell me that they think my purchase of caffeine is a waste of money.  And they might be right.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 08:26:29 AM »
We have a sodastream and we like using it for seltzer. We never make soda, but we get tired of drinking water all the time.

That said, I know it's not MMM because the carbonator is pricey -- $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond if you use a $5 off $15 purchase coupon (hint: they never expire). But it's in lieu of buying any beverages other than milk and coffee.

There was a forum post a while back about getting a different kind of carbonator and using CO2 canisters from sports stores that rent scuba equipment, but I decided not to go that route because of the possibility that those canisters may have other chemicals in the CO2 (like benzene?).

The best prices I've found on sodastreams are at Staples, and were around Black Friday. But if you keep your eyes peeled for a Staples sodastream deal, you can have them pricematch the best price you can find and they will honor it (plus, until the end of September, they will beat that price by 10%). If they are offering a deal on them, or a coupon on breakroom items or 20% off one item (like they are offering today), you can get that discount too. If you go to my site and sign up for the email list for the "Weekly Stapler," I'll let you know when a Sodastream sale is happening.

Sorry I'm just feeding the vice! But you don't have to pay $70 for one -- I've seen them for under $50.

amha

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 08:47:28 AM »
Way better idea: build your own!!!! I built a DIY carbonator a couple years ago, and it's fantastic! I keep meaning to write up what I did, but it's pretty similar to this setup: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-06/how-make-your-own-home-carbonation-system

As I recall, the numbers worked out to something like:

$.90/L for store-bought seltzer
$.20/L for SodaStream
$.02/L for my home carbonator

It also just looks really, really cool to have a huge 20lb tank of CO2 in my kitchen. It's a great conversation starter! And I've lugged it around to dinner parties in lieu of bringing wine (also a great conversation piece). And a good science demo: solids are not the only things that can dissolve in liquids---gases can dissolve in liquids, too!

furrychickens

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2014, 08:50:16 AM »
I like plain seltzer, and sour sodas (seltzer and a splash of lemon or lime juice), or a splash on a mixed drink.

The Sodastream is easily half the recurring cost of bottled seltzer and has much less waste generated.

I've considered hacking it to use the standard CO2 nozzles, but I only refill it every three months or so. Not worth the time for a small $ savings.

desrever

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2014, 09:17:10 AM »
I regret getting mine. They are priced to hide the true cost of the carbonated tanks. I'm looking at doing the soda mod now (so that it'll take paintball tanks) but I haven't been able to figure out how to refill those.

nereo

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2014, 09:34:04 AM »
I have a sodastream and love it.  We never use the mixes, but drink lots of seltzer water, sour seltzers (soda + lime/lemon) plus I make my own tonic and occasionally we'll make lime rickeys.  We average about 2 liters of carbonated water a day, so yeah, we drink lots of it.  I've had it for about five years now.

I've made my ROI even better by refilling my own bottles (internet hack).  For that I go to the store of my friendly beer-making guy.  In exchange for being his customer he lets us recharge our sodastream CO2 bottles from his larger tanks.  Even if you can't find a nice relationship like this, you can rent a small CO2 for about $8 that's large enough to recharge several CO2 bottles - enough people have SodaStreams that you could do a "recharge party" where one person rents the tank and everyone comes over to refill + make their best homemade carbonated beverage for others to try.

All of this knocks my costs down to a couple pennies per liter.
For me its mustachian because we use it so frequently and avoid the unhealthy soda mixes.

furrychickens

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 09:58:31 AM »
I regret getting mine. They are priced to hide the true cost of the carbonated tanks. I'm looking at doing the soda mod now (so that it'll take paintball tanks) but I haven't been able to figure out how to refill those.

Usually welding supply stores are where you go for CO2.

ToughMother

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 10:13:47 AM »
LOVE our soda stream and it has proved to be a money saver.  I drink water and seltzer water (with some lime or lemon sometimes).  I used to get seltzer at the store on occasion, now I can have it whenever I want and for much less. 

I get that the hacks are less expensive, but even LESS less expensive than those hacksis a small house that is too tiny handle a whopping sized CO2 container (that saves more money than any CO2 hack) but is just big enough for a small soda stream. 
(And what others said about looking for deals on the cartridges, but they do last a while).

Enjoy.

amha

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 02:17:34 PM »
Re places to get CO2: I got mine from Airgas (http://www.airgas.com/), which is a welding supply shop (mostly in the Northeast, I think). But they seem to do a fair amount of business to non-welders---the guy assumed I wanted CO2 for a home beer keg. (Which would have been great!) So the tank they sold me was labelled "food-grade CO2" (which I guess is just more pure???).

RiskDown

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2014, 02:53:46 PM »
Ah - finally a topic I can claim expertise on. This is the MMM way of doing Sodastream.

1) Purchase a used 20LB CO2 tank which has a dip tubed installed. Go as cheap as possible here, you are going to be exchanging this tank out with your local welder, so just need something to get in the door.

2) Purchase this: http://co2doctor.com/fillstationproIIspec.htm  (make sure to either buy the paintball tank from here also, or a valve to trade out on your soda stream tank)

...Now $15/refill on a 20LB CO2 from welder shop buys you several years worth of C02 (most non-heavy users)... and you can refill as you desire.

3) Purchase this: http://www.amazon.com/Valve-Coca-Cola-Brand-Bag-Syrups/dp/B009B1PA90 (taps into bag-in-box products)

Bottom line:
This was the cheapest way of doing soda stream. Most local sams club sell COKE Bag-in-box (BIB) soda's... PROTIPS = Refrigerate both the box of syrup and the soda-stream bottles, prior to to carbonation/mixing. The key to getting water to hold carbonation = low temp. The key to getting syrup to hold carbination = low temp... So you want them both cold. 5 to 1 ratio = Coke's official ratio.  Draw lines on my bottle with a sharpie, to know where to refill water first, then syrup to. I used tap water, and accumulated a taste for it very quickly.

PROCESS = fill bottle with tap water (up to water line), refrigerate until full cold... when you want soda, take bottle, carbonate, then fill up to syrup line... creating 5 to 1 ratio.

Update = Although we've mostly stopped drinking soda because it cost extra and it's terrible for health, we still use this rig to make carbonated lemonade and home made sprite, with lemon, limes, ehthyriol & stevia sweetner.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 02:56:13 PM by RiskDown »

Goldielocks

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2014, 03:01:17 PM »
I'm sure others will chime in, but I would hardly call a Sodastream 'healthy.'

If it's carbonated water you're after, you can buy an old-school seltzer bottle for $30.

Cheers.
Our second hand store has a good one for only $8 right now.  I think the CO2 cartidges cost under 50 cents each, so the seltzer bottle is only as good as how long it can stay pressurized without leaking.  A few days to a week at best, if I recall.   New ones may be better?

guitar_stitch

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2014, 02:09:32 PM »
Way better idea: build your own!!!! I built a DIY carbonator a couple years ago, and it's fantastic! I keep meaning to write up what I did, but it's pretty similar to this setup: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-06/how-make-your-own-home-carbonation-system

Decent article.  However, they are wrong about this: "Attach the regulator to your CO2 tank by lining up the threaded ends of each. Unless you're the Incredible Hulk, you'll want to crescent-wrench the regulator's threaded nut tight, using PTFE tape, to ensure a leak-free seal."

You will use a nylon crush washer/gasket between the tank and the regulator body.  PTFE tape on the threads can actually cause a leak due to a false sense of tightness.  The washer should be replaced at each tank swap.

Source: I use CO2 on my fish tank for plants.

Cromacster

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2014, 02:38:13 PM »
If you look into what people use for kegging homebrew the same equipment can be used to make sodas.  You can make a five gallon batch which should last 1 3/4 months assuming 1 can per day.

Gets a little more involved if you want bottles on the go.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/used-5-gallon-keg.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEMxBPxb1vE

Edit: Forgot to add that getting started in this will run you about $150 if you buy used equipment with about $15 every year for CO2 (with very high usage).  Possibly cheaper if you get equipment on craigslist.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:40:04 PM by Cromacster »

nereo

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2014, 02:53:07 PM »
I get that the hacks are less expensive, but even LESS less expensive than those hacksis a small house that is too tiny handle a whopping sized CO2 container (that saves more money than any CO2 hack) but is just big enough for a small soda stream. 
(And what others said about looking for deals on the cartridges, but they do last a while).
I'm a bit baffled by this comment. Are you suggesting that when asking the question "should I get a soda-stream" the answer should be "buy a smaller house"?  If so that's the most non-sequitous response I've heard here yet.  Or perhaps you are suggesting that it's simply impossible to put a CO2 cylinder anywhere in a mustachian house.  If that is the case, I also don't understand this response either, for two reasons.  First, if someone wants to keep a CO2 cylinder in-house, it won't take up more room than a toaster-oven. It will fit in most base cabinets, or like a previous poster said you can leave it on the counter to really make a statement (not my choice, but hey).   Second, there's no need to actually keep a larger CO2 cylinder at home at all - you can refill your sodastream cartridges (for free if you have a decent hookup) and then your storage requirements will never be more than the Sodastream carbonator.
Maybe I missed your point entirely?

desrever

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2014, 09:22:44 AM »
Ah - finally a topic I can claim expertise on. This is the MMM way of doing Sodastream.

1) Purchase a used 20LB CO2 tank which has a dip tubed installed. Go as cheap as possible here, you are going to be exchanging this tank out with your local welder, so just need something to get in the door.

2) Purchase this: http://co2doctor.com/fillstationproIIspec.htm  (make sure to either buy the paintball tank from here also, or a valve to trade out on your soda stream tank)

...Now $15/refill on a 20LB CO2 from welder shop buys you several years worth of C02 (most non-heavy users)... and you can refill as you desire.

3) Purchase this: http://www.amazon.com/Valve-Coca-Cola-Brand-Bag-Syrups/dp/B009B1PA90 (taps into bag-in-box products)

Bottom line:
This was the cheapest way of doing soda stream. Most local sams club sell COKE Bag-in-box (BIB) soda's... PROTIPS = Refrigerate both the box of syrup and the soda-stream bottles, prior to to carbonation/mixing. The key to getting water to hold carbonation = low temp. The key to getting syrup to hold carbination = low temp... So you want them both cold. 5 to 1 ratio = Coke's official ratio.  Draw lines on my bottle with a sharpie, to know where to refill water first, then syrup to. I used tap water, and accumulated a taste for it very quickly.

PROCESS = fill bottle with tap water (up to water line), refrigerate until full cold... when you want soda, take bottle, carbonate, then fill up to syrup line... creating 5 to 1 ratio.

Update = Although we've mostly stopped drinking soda because it cost extra and it's terrible for health, we still use this rig to make carbonated lemonade and home made sprite, with lemon, limes, ehthyriol & stevia sweetner.

This is awesome! Thanks!

superone!

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2014, 09:29:53 AM »
I get that the hacks are less expensive, but even LESS less expensive than those hacksis a small house that is too tiny handle a whopping sized CO2 container (that saves more money than any CO2 hack) but is just big enough for a small soda stream. 
(And what others said about looking for deals on the cartridges, but they do last a while).
I'm a bit baffled by this comment. Are you suggesting that when asking the question "should I get a soda-stream" the answer should be "buy a smaller house"?  If so that's the most non-sequitous response I've heard here yet.  Or perhaps you are suggesting that it's simply impossible to put a CO2 cylinder anywhere in a mustachian house.  If that is the case, I also don't understand this response either, for two reasons.  First, if someone wants to keep a CO2 cylinder in-house, it won't take up more room than a toaster-oven. It will fit in most base cabinets, or like a previous poster said you can leave it on the counter to really make a statement (not my choice, but hey).   Second, there's no need to actually keep a larger CO2 cylinder at home at all - you can refill your sodastream cartridges (for free if you have a decent hookup) and then your storage requirements will never be more than the Sodastream carbonator.
Maybe I missed your point entirely?

I think the point here is that while a CO2 container is a cheaper alternative to the soda stream, if you have a small kitchen (or house) that has no room for a CO2 container (a small house that you may have chosen for the cost-savings), the soda stream is a pretty decent alternative to buying seltzer water in cans at a high premium.

I personally love my soda stream. I drink so much more water if it is bubbly than if it is still. Definitely a healthy choice, for me at least.

greaper007

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2014, 09:59:45 AM »
If you homebrew or even like to drink good beer I think a kegerator setup might be a better option.    I can keg water and pressurize it in my system (I've yet to do it).    Then I could buy any number of syrups that you just pump into your glass of fizzy water to make soda.   That way you can control the amount and type of sweetener you use in your soda.

I can also make 5 gallons of Bavarian hefewiezen for about $30 without suffering the indignity of bottling.   Or I could just buy kegs from the liquor store and save about 30-50% off the price of cans or bottles.    Mostly though, it's just cool to pull a pint of beer you made out of a keg.

Dulcimina

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2014, 11:30:08 AM »
I'm going to try filling mine with dry ice when the canister is empty.  I found instructions on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YouxAodQXv8&feature=c4-overview&list=UUi3s6qwTcD99sZjZuT4e33g

I'll let you know if it works.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2014, 02:09:17 PM »
Re places to get CO2: I got mine from Airgas (http://www.airgas.com/), which is a welding supply shop (mostly in the Northeast, I think). But they seem to do a fair amount of business to non-welders---the guy assumed I wanted CO2 for a home beer keg. (Which would have been great!) So the tank they sold me was labelled "food-grade CO2" (which I guess is just more pure???).

Thank you! The food-grade CO2 is what I'm looking for. Paintball and welding suppliers may have other things in the CO2 that you don't want to ingest.

RiskDown

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2014, 04:07:08 PM »
I'm going to try filling mine with dry ice when the canister is empty.  I found instructions on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YouxAodQXv8&feature=c4-overview&list=UUi3s6qwTcD99sZjZuT4e33g

I'll let you know if it works.

It works, I've done it several times... The break-even on dry ice + time spent tightening and opening + crushing + feeding it into that little bottle... is not a cost effective use of time, compared to my input from earlier.

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2014, 04:23:25 PM »
We have a soda stream we bid on at a fundraiser. I could live easily without it BUT it seems to have served the 4 kids well , saves some money and they don't live on it so i am fine with it.

ToughMother

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2014, 07:26:46 AM »
I get that the hacks are less expensive, but even LESS less expensive than those hacks is a small house that is too tiny handle a whopping sized CO2 container (that saves more money than any CO2 hack) but is just big enough for a small soda stream.

Maybe I missed your point entirely?

I think the point here is that while a CO2 container is a cheaper alternative to the soda stream, if you have a small kitchen (or house) that has no room for a CO2 container (a small house that you may have chosen for the cost-savings), the soda stream is a pretty decent alternative to buying seltzer water in cans at a high premium.

Thanks very much, Superasya, for explaining my thoughts clearly in response to Nereo's questions.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2014, 04:46:26 PM »
Our house has a sodastream problem.

We used to have a bottled seltzer problem.

Before that we had a coke 0 problem.

Before that, well, you don't want to know.

Our sodastream usage works out to be $0.13 / liter, which is pretty good.  We definitely drink more water than we used to, so that's a health plus.

I'm about to embark on a modification of the sodastream to use a normal kegerator co2 bottle.  That should improve the efficiency to around $0.013 / liter.  At that point... I'll no longer pay attention to how much we use it.

It's been a while and I feel a little bad for resurrecting an old thread... but the project is finished!  I have a franken-seltzerator!  Muahahahah!

Startup costs: $253.10
Savings per month: $38.45

So we're breaking even in a little more than six months.  After that, we're coming out waaaaay ahead!

Plus I didn't blow myself or Mrs. FW up and the entire thing from start to finish took a leisurely hour (this includes the time to take all the photos for the blog).

Honestly, I feel really dumb for not doing this a long time ago.

Our seltzer addiction has been building over time, so we have an excuse for not doing this a couple of years ago.  But six months ago... man I really should have pulled the trigger.

And yes.  We have a seltzer addiction.  But the bright side is that we drink a ton of water!

Full story with lots of photos is on the blog.

Feel free to hit me up with any questions about building or facepunching about drinking enough seltzer that we needed an industrial sized system :-)

CanuckExpat

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2014, 01:44:04 AM »
Feel free to hit me up with any questions about building or facepunching about drinking enough seltzer that we needed an industrial sized system :-)

How much seltzer are you drinking? I bought a used Sodastream ~10 months ago. It has one of the larger carburetors (130L I believe?), presumably near full. I was happy with the Craigslist price, but assumed I'd be cursing the re-fills. So far we haven't had to do any re-fills, and I think we carbonate between 0.5-1L of water/day. I'm surprised we haven't run out.
How much were you carbonating?

(Also, I get free carbonated water at work out of the soda machine to quench my thirst for most of my waking hours.. that helps)

Primm

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2014, 02:27:24 AM »
Feel free to hit me up with any questions about building or facepunching about drinking enough seltzer that we needed an industrial sized system :-)

How much seltzer are you drinking?

His blog says 180 litres a month... :)

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2014, 05:35:30 AM »
Feel free to hit me up with any questions about building or facepunching about drinking enough seltzer that we needed an industrial sized system :-)

How much seltzer are you drinking? I bought a used Sodastream ~10 months ago. It has one of the larger carburetors (130L I believe?), presumably near full. I was happy with the Craigslist price, but assumed I'd be cursing the re-fills. So far we haven't had to do any re-fills, and I think we carbonate between 0.5-1L of water/day. I'm surprised we haven't run out.
How much were you carbonating?

(Also, I get free carbonated water at work out of the soda machine to quench my thirst for most of my waking hours.. that helps)

We were going through 3 of the little sodastream canisters a month.  We drink a _lot_ of seltzer.  We also take several bottles each to work with us, but still... :-)

CO2 doesn't go bad, so even if you aren't drinking as much there is still the potential for coming out ahead over a longer period of time.

Left Bank

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2014, 10:24:46 AM »
Well, I would vote for waste of money. 
Indirect costs that you may not be considering are dental issues. Carbonated drinks have a low pH (3) - anyone concerned about enamel erosion with all that soda?

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2014, 03:23:41 PM »
Well, I would vote for waste of money. 
Indirect costs that you may not be considering are dental issues. Carbonated drinks have a low pH (3) - anyone concerned about enamel erosion with all that soda?

I actually was concerned about this as well.  The internet seems pretty satisfied that plain carbonated water doesn't have negative health affects:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/06/is-carbonated-water-safe-to-drink/
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/science/31qna.html

The dental takeaway seems to be "More harmful than plain water, but 100x less harmful than flavored soda".

Considering the amount of diet coke I used to consume... I think my teeth have come out ahead in the switch to seltzer :-)

NinetyFour

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2014, 05:13:58 PM »
I don't understand the "addiction" to the bubbly stuff.  It just seems like a waste of money to me.  Tap water rules in my house--preferable room temperature.

Beric01

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Re: Sodastream..healthy and economical or waste of money?
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2014, 05:19:28 PM »
I don't understand the "addiction" to the bubbly stuff.  It just seems like a waste of money to me.  Tap water rules in my house--preferable room temperature.

I have to filter mine. But I hate the "bubbly" feeling in your throat from soda. It's worse than beer, honestly. I can't see how people enjoy it, but to each his own I guess.