Does a SodaStream save you money? Probably not.

We got a SodaStream soda maker several months ago and while I’ve enjoyed using it, I’ve wondered about SodaStream’s claims that it saves you money.

Does it? Probably not, or at least not for a long time.

Let’s assume you buy soda in the most economical way, in 2-liter bottles. You’ll probably pay about $1.50/2 liters. Assuming you buy CO2 refills at $15 and not $30 for a new CO2 bottle and you drink half a liter of soda a day, it will take you 2,376 days or 6.5 years to make back your investment in the SodaStream maker. Wow!

 

In fact, if you spent less than $1.33/2 liter on soda before, you’ll never make your money back.

However, there are other ways to decrease your cost per liter:

  • Buy a SodaMod, which allows you to attach a paintball CO2 tank which is much more cheaply filled than what SodaStream charges. A similar product is the FreedomOne-PBI.
  • Make your own syrup.
  • Since Bed, Bath and Beyond sells SodaStream supplies, take advantage of all those coupons they send you and buy syrup and CO2 there.
  • Buy one of the cheaper SodaStream models.
There are other reasons to buy a SodaStream, like reducing waste and not having to lug heavy bottles and cans of essentially water to your house, but economically, it’s not likely win.

You can run your own calculations by making a copy of the Google Spreadsheet I used.

 

32 Comments

  1. Nice. I use a SodaStream purely for fizzy water. At a liter a day, that gets me to break-even point in about three months.

    Better still: not contributing to schlepping cases of Pellegrino from northern Italy to northern California gives me a feeling of moral self-satisfaction that is priceless.

    • Think of the sheer effort your recent ancestors had to make, to pump water out of the ground or lift it from a well, just to get enough to drink and maybe a strip-wash now and then. They must’ve STANK for a lack of bathwater.

      Then the miracle comes of a clean, constant water supply that comes from taps all around your house, and you don’t need a kettle or a fire to warm it. If you can’t appreciate the luxury, try imagining the arse-pain of not having it.

      Almost free, good water by the bathload. And people pay large amounts of money that they work for, to get a bottle full from a spring, like a medeival peasant.

      If somebody really needs water from another continent for it’s “taste”, eating ordinary food must be unbearable for them! They must throw up as they walk past hot-dog stalls. And if you want minerals, lick a pebble.

    • I have been using my sodastream machine for 1 1/2 years and love it, we make 3 liters a day, I fill my own co2 costs about 2 dollars a bottle, I buy syrup in 5 gallon box, figure it cost me 10 cents per 12 oz. I put out about 300 dollars to start, I know have got my money back and now the big savings no returns and no lugging pop home.

      Paul

  2. I did the math on the energy drink and I have same money and save so much more on buying the redbull drink at $85 for the amouth of one $9.99 of energy drink sodastream, try doing the math and telling me wrong. this save me money in no time at all.

  3. There seems to be an error in your spread sheet in cell C9 (Payoff Point).
    It doesn’t include the amout of soda used per day (cell C6).
    With out this it assumes 1 liter per day based on cell D8 (saving per liter)
    So the Payoff point using 0.5 liter per day should be 2376.2 days or 6.51 years.
    Or for those dringing 2 liter per day it would be 594.1 days or 1.63 years.
    Note those who invest in a SodaMod adapter and a 20 oz paintball CO2 bottle.
    These two items can be found on ebay or amazon. The lowest price I found was
    about $30 for the Sodamod and $20 for a 20 oz paint ball co2 bottle.
    The refills drop to about $3.00 and fill about 80 liters or ~ $.04 per liter.
    This would net you about $.30 per liter savings but because of the higher cost.
    The Payoff point would be about 505.6 days or 1.39 years assuming 1 liter per day.
    This all assumes that you are only using SodaStream flavors and not making any
    of your own or only making sparkling water.

    • Also there is a double accounting problem in the spreadsheet too: Jeff forgot to account for the fact that the machine comes with an initial supply of CO2. Therefore, the cost for the first 60L of soda is entirely in the flavoring. The easiest solution is to deduct the C02 refill cost from the initial SodaStream cost prior to dividing by the per liter cost when generating the payoff point. Doing so brings the pay off to 5.53 years based on all of Jeff’s prior assumptions. If one could did a similar adjustment for the free 12 flavors starting flavors, it brings the repayment time down slightly more to 5.21 years.

      Jeff also omitted the cost of buying replacement carbonating bottles. They have a timed expiration (or presumably, a “total qty of liters carbonated” lifetime) of 2 years. At 0.5 liters per day ($10/bottle), they add $0.05 to the cost of every SodaStream drink–increasing the payback time dramatically to 18.66 years (from 6.51). Drinking more soda per day reduces the bottle replacement costs.

      Other Brain Droppings:

      I haven’t seen any mention of bottle deposits here either. I live in a state with a $0.05 deposit on every soda bottles which is tacked on in addition to the store list price. Jeff’s analysis inherently assumes that the bottles are being returned for deposit. If you’re not returning the bottles, the $0.05 bottle deposit raise the price enough on soda to reduce the payback time from 6.51 years to 5.02 years.

      Water quality is an issue in some locations too. Some tap water simply tastes nasty & making soda out of bad tap water may not hide it sufficiently. If that’s the case, extra costs for water filtration/treatment would need to be added (reducing Sodastream’s apparent edge over conventional bottled soda).

      Lastly, beer brewers carbonate beer all the time with C02. Food grade C02 is widely available in larger canisters for them & could probably be used as easily as paintball C02.

  4. I would not recommend using paintball CO2 cylinders to make soda. There are different quality and purity requirements for something intended for human consumption as opposed to sports equipment.

    The big assumption in your price comparison is that you are comparing to buying 2 L bottles. For someone who only drinks 0.5L a day, that 2L bottle is starting to get flat by day 4. This is one reason I preferred buying cans of soda before I got the sodamaker. While the 1L size is larger (equivalent to 2.8 cans of soda), it is small enough that I can finish off a bottle before it goes flat. Therefore when comparing to the cost of cans of soda, it does save you money.

    With that said, I would not expect anyone to buy a soda maker purly to save money. It is just a different “fun” way to make soda, and it gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of how much syrup you mix in, mixing flavors, making your own syrups, or just making plain fizzy water (which would cut out the cost of the syrup making it much cheaper; I don’t know what store bought carbonated water sells for).

    • Forgot to mention, the soda maker also allows you to make drinks with more or less fizz. Some flavors that I did not previously like actually tasted better by adjusting the carbonation. However, don’t count on never buying store-bought soda again. While I enjoy the sodastream flavors for the most part, they all taste “different” to me than what they are mimicing. For some it does not taste any better or worse, just slightly different (Dr. Pete, Lemon-Lime, and Cream Soda are personal favorites). For others, I could never get it to taste good enough and so I end up buying a can of the “good stuff” once in awhile (Mountain Dew; also the Root Beer tastes more like Barqs and I always preferred A&W).

  5. I guess it depends on what product you use with the sodastream machine. While soda is a really cheap beverage purchased at any store out there energy drinks are NOT! And that is precisely why we got this for my husband. He would pick up a monster every morning on the way to work and one at lunch. Thats like 8 bucks a day on those two drinks alone. Basically over 200 a month and after buying the soda stream he will buy maybe two of the mixes a month at 6 bucks a bottle and thats it. We spend less than 20 bucks a month compared to before. I have to say that is one reason that it WOULD save you a ton. For soda itself? Probably not much at all.

    • I forgot to mention the CO2 that he buys, you turn in the container to refill it for 15 bucks and even using it daily it lasts him more than a month to 2 months.

    • Save money on energy drinks by grinding caffeine tablets into soda water. Add cough medicine to taste.

      There’s gonna be a heap of arrythmia patients turning up in about 15 years. Per equivalent dose, you’re safer off just drinking fruit juice and doing speed. Caffeine is worse for the heart and circulation.

      To be fair, people tend to take a greater than equivalent dose of amphetamines than they would caffeine. But caffeine is a horrible drug. Nasty side-effects, horrible withdrawal. I wouldn’t drink it regularly. Innoculating it into drinks and calling it “energy” like it’s a good thing is crazy.

      • Right on, Greenaum… You make a compelling argument. I never understood why such drinks weren’t called jittery drinks. Three syllables – just like energy – but far less misleading, false, conniving and subversive propaganda. The energy in a cup of coffee and a cup of water is the same. There’s at least a million times more biologically accessible energy in a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar in it – and perhaps a squirt of lemon.

        As to the economics, people who buy SodaReam contraptions are not motivated by economics at the point of purchase. It’s a shiny lure – just like the ones fish bite. There’s nothing economical about paying $15 – $30 for fifty-cents worth of co2. I’m sorry. But SodaReam customer arguments supporting the economics of SodaReam ownership are desperate attempts to console themselves after having made an unwise purchase. Spending $100 for a contraption that allows you to buy co2 gas for $30/lb when it’s sold for 50-cents-a-pound. Heck, most grocery stores sell clean dry ice for $1/lb. An 8-g chip of it runs you about 1.8-cents – that’s a chunk about the size of a nickel. Drop it in a liter soda bottle filled with clean water ‘n cap it. If you’re afraid it’ll pop – sit it outside for 15-minutes. It’ll do no harm there. So there you have it – the soda bottle ‘n cap are free at your neighbor’s house. The water’s virtually free. And the co2’s under 2-cents at Harris Teeter. Go ahead ‘n splurge – buy a pound of it while you’re shopping. I know… I know… It’ll run U-a-buck, but you can make 160 single serving sized highly carbonated 12oz bottles of seltzer when U-get back home. That’ll last U a week or 2.

  6. I think you are absolutely right that the physical supply cost savings just aren’t really there for soda. But one big factor to consider, is that although the cost per serving isn’t really that different (for soda) with the soda stream we have been drinking WAY less soda because it takes more effort than grabbing a can out of the fridge drinking a sip and then letting it sit. I have found that in our household our soda costs have DRASTICALLY declined because now, if you want a soda… you have to take the time to make it. We went from…. 2-3+ cases per week to like 1 or 2 soda stream syrup bottles… now that’s a savings and interestingly enough it didn’t impact our lifestyle at all (except to save us money)

  7. You can get a FiZZ GiZ for under thirty-bucks online. You can use the tiny little disposable co2 cartridges with it. They are pricey, so you may wish to connect your FiZZ GiZ dispenser to any size co2 tank with a tube which constantly feeds it co2. FiZZ GiZ has connection hardware for small half-pound co2 tanks all the way up to five-foot tall 50-lb tanks. Just like swapping propane tanks for your gas grill, CO2 is sold the same way – take in your empty ‘n swap it for a full one for the price of the gas only. In the larger tanks, the gas is dirt cheap – so cheap, in fact, that a sodastream sized tank would only have about fifty-cents worth of CO2 gas in it. FiZZ GiZ is a North Carolina based mfr and all their products are mfd in High Point. U-can reach ‘em at the website or by calling (409) FIZZ-GIZ.

    This thread is about the economics of home soda making. So here: Name brand soda syrup 5-gallon BIB’s cost around $50 at the beverage distributor warehouse. 5-gallons of syrup is 640-fluid ounces. It takes 2oz of syrup to make a 12oz single serving sized drink – adding it to 10oz of water. So you can make 320 single serving sized drinks for your fifty bucks. That’s about 15-cents-a-bottle. The CO2 cost for each one is about half-a-cent. So making yourself a 6-pack of name brand soda runs you just under a dollar.

  8. I would ‘preciate someone who’s owned a sodastream for a year or so telling me…
    i) are you happy with your purchase still?
    ii) what are the 2 things you like most about it?
    iii) what are the 2 things you don’t like about it?

    Thanks!

    • I’ve owned mine for like 3 years. I am very happy with it and use it daily.
      Happy:
      1) convenience: I always have soda at home now. I keep extra syrup/flavor packets in the cupboard that take up a lot less space. I have 3 co2 cartridges so I go fill 2 when I put in the 3rd.
      2) a lot less waste. I am a heavy soda drinker (3+) 16 oz bottles a day before soda stream. That was a lot of bottles. Yes I could easily drink a 2 liter by myself in a day. I just didn’t like big bottles. Id fill up my recycle can quickly.

      Bad:
      1) the cola flavored aren’t the same. I’ve drank coca cola since a child and sometimes I really crave it.
      2) washing the bottles and lids. Mine said to not use hot water so no dishwasher :( I hate doing dishes.

    • My husband and I are not heavy soda drinkers, but we use the Soda Stream carbonator ALL THE TIME! We have had it for 2 or 3 years and would buy another if it broke. I love fizzy water with lemon, my husband uses squirts of MIO water flavor (or the small cool aid liquids – lots to choose) in his, we make wine coolers in the summer and many cocktails are nice with a little fizz. We occasionally make a bottle of Dr. Pete using the Soda Stream syrup, but not often. We love the drinks, but even more important – all these comparisons show that it is not MORE expensive so shouldn’t we be doing it for the environment!

  9. WOW, the Grinch is well at work here with this blog, look buying ya soda for .10cents a litre Ebenezer might make sense but really!, factor in not doing a shoulder tendon everytime you carry 6 x 2 litre bottles off the shelf, into the car into the house into the cupboard then into the fridge that is room hungry as it is. The bottles fizz lasts about as long as a litres worth so your drinking a litre of flat cola each time you feel to pour a comfort or scotch mixer. Dont you just hate that!.
    Man really, I am shopping for a drink maker now, Kmart have the whole xmas kit for $69 syrups, maker, co2 bottle and pet bottle. $69 bucks to me is nothing, wont buy you a tank of gas anymore!, if I feel in a cola mood or anything else for that matter I can make it, it wil be fresh and I more or less have more confidence in whats going into it. Look Mr AMATIL or soda share holder, soda ripp off days are over, a bean counter with a spreadsheet, thats the evil of this world!, profiteering and materialism and such has bought so much bar humbug to this world, Ford and Holden employees now exactly what I’m on about. I will order my Soda Stream xmas unit on line now, and I wont even give the GOVT my 3WAYS tax, my GST or Excise on petrol tax to get it.
    Anyway a realists perspective on the scenario, or is freedom of speech banned now in Australia.

  10. The only flaw I see in your computations is that if you consume 1/2 a liter per day from a 2-liter bottle, your soda will go flat before you use it all. That means you’ll have wasted maybe half of your bottle. Soda Stream bottles have a rubber seal in the lid and will stay fizzy for 5-6 days.

      • Throwing soda away just because it has gone flat or throwing it away just because it has gotten warm? Neither are necessary. If it’s warm, you can stick it in the fridge to chill it fully. If it’s flat, you can use a FiZZ GiZ to recarbonate it fully. At under thirty-bucks, you should check it out (www.FizzGiz.com) or call (409) FIZZ-GIZ. Now, if someone drank your soda, it may be time to throw it away.

        Now people can be funny about that sort of thing. I once had a roommate in college (NCSU). He would not eat ‘leftovers’. Fried chicken, grilled ribs, macaroni, spaghetti, seafood gumbo, rice, tacos… you get the idea. Once any leftovers hit the fridge, might as well have been the garbage can for all he was concerned. Never understood that about the guy.

  11. Factor in that I crush my cans and sell them to the recyclers and its easier and cheaper to buy soda on sale. I can buy my fav soda for 4 bucks for a 24 pack case. I get back more on the aluminum than I save on Sodastream and I don’t have to worry about it breaking down, not working properly or cleaning it up. Its a novelty at best.

  12. Ok, let’s do the numbers for me. I regularly bought 3 12 packs of cans on sale at the local grocery every week. So every month that would come out to $48 a month. Luckily in DE no sales tax. I’m glad I don’t live in a state that charges deposit fees for cans. I was drinking coke zero so no sugar, but aspertame. I wanted to stop consuming aspertame as much as possible. Over the course of a year that would come out to roughly $576.
    So, let’s do the math here:
    $576-$120 for sodastream maker leaves $456.

    Spare container for CO2:
    $456-$40.00=$416

    Refills for CO2 for the year @$16.00/Refill:
    $416-$192= $224

    2 1L Bottle Refill Packs $20.00 each:
    $224-$40.00=$184

    Left over amount for flavor syrup for the year:
    $184

    You’ll probably break even in the first year or so if you’re someone like me who drank a lot of canned soda. Not to mention it is healthier, without all the added aspartame, and you’re not adding to landfills. You’re also using tap water which is regulated by state and federal law to be safe. Bottled water is not regulated to the extent tap water is. I use a Brita pitcher to filter it, so add in the cost of filters every 2 months. If you’re someone who is a casual soda drinker, it’s probably not going to save you money. I don’t drink coffee. For me it’s a personal preference.

  13. I hate that your page comes up when I search for SodaStream because you’re just wrong. If you were paying over $3/1L bottle of Voss or other imported water like we were, and easily going through 3L a day at least (on average) during the cooler months, say nothing of when things heat up, then yes, this little thing saved us a lot of money. What finally pushed me to buy it was the ridiculous amount of bottles we’d go through in a day, week…the pile up and guilt was too much.

  14. Thanks for the spreadsheet, I bought a sodastream to stave off my growing redbull sugar free addiction. It confirms my payback. But I agree for regular soda’s it isn’t worth it.

  15. The math is wrong, because of misleading sodastream marketing. It’s far more expensive than you listed because a 60L carbonator implies 60L. In reality, you only get 32 or 33 liters with a full 60L carbonator.

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