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21 Oct 2021

Is a Sodastream cheaper than buying sparkling water?

We've crunched the numbers to find out if making carbonated water at home rather than buying bottled will save you money, as well as be better for the planet
Sodastream carbonating water

Sparkling water makers such as Sodastream and Aarke could make a great Christmas gift for lovers of carbonated water on tap, but will they really save you money on your regular supermarket shop if you frequently buy bottled sparkling water?

To find out we've crunched the numbers and compared the sparkling water prices of big brands and supermarkets to the ongoing costs of using a Sodastream.

In order to keep your sparkling water machine topped up with the COu00b2 it needs to give your water bubbles, you'll need to buy 60-litre gas canisters from retailers such as Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, and Lakeland, or direct from Sodastream.

At the time of writing the price for a new 60-litre canister is £22.99, but you can get refills for £12.99 if you exchange your empty canister for a new one. You can do this either by finding a Sodastream retailer or by using Collect+ if you ordered your refill online.

But it's not all about the cost - there's environmental factors to take into account as well. Read on to find out everything you need to know to help you decide whether to buy a Sodastream or not.

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Sparkling water on sale at the supermarket

Sodastreams vs. supermarket sparkling water

If you're looking to save money on sparkling water and aren't too fussed about buying big brands such as Highland Spring and San Pellegrino, you'll likely want to see the prices of the supermarket own-brand carbonated water compared to the Sodastream refills.

Here's how the prices stack up, with the costs of each compared per litre. Where several options are available, the products that offer the greatest value for money were selected for comparison.

Prices of all products exclude delivery and ignore promotions.

ProductPrice per litre (1000ml)
Sodastream 60-litre Gas Cylinder (new canister)38p
Sodastream 60-litre Gas Cylinder (refill canister)22p
Aldi Aqua Vale Sparkling Spring Water (4 x 2-litre bottles)10p
Asda Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (4 x 2-litre bottles)17p
Co-op Natural Mineral Water Sparkling (6 x 500ml bottles)53p
Lidl Carrick Glen Sparkling Mineral Water (4 x 2-litre bottles)14p
Morrisons Sparkling Spring Water (4 x 2-litre bottles)19p
Table notes: pricing and availability last checked 19 October 2021.

Depending on which supermarket you go to, it seems you'll still spend less buying bottled water, even when compared to buying the cheaper Sodastream gas refills.

As you might expect, shopping at Aldi or Lidl appears to offer the greatest value for money on sparkling water - especially Aldi.

The supermarket own-brands that seem to be worse value for money than Sodastream are the options available from Ocado and the Co-op, with Sodastream only offering better value than Ocado if you buy gas refills.

Money-saving tips - find out all the little tips and tricks you can take advantage of to save money.

San Pellegrino sparkling water

Sodastreams vs. sparkling water brands

If you favour the big names in sparkling water, such as Buxton, Highland Spring and San Pellegrino, you'll be parting with much more cash.

This makes the value for money comparison with Sodastream much more compelling.

We've compared branded products from the UK's major supermarket chains. Where several options are available, the one that offers the greatest value for money was selected for comparison from the supermarkets that sell them at the cheapest prices.

Prices of all products exclude delivery and ignore promotions.

ProductPrice per litre (1000ml)
Sodastream 60 litre Gas Cylinder (new canister)38p
Sodastream 60 litre Gas Cylinder (refill)22p
Badoit Sparkling Mineral Water (6 x 1-litre bottles)£1.07
Buxton Sparkling (6 x 1-litre bottles)50p
Harrogate Spring Water Sparkling (6 x 1-litre bottles)50p
Highland Spring Sparkling Water (6 x 1-litre bottles)50p
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (6 x 1-litre bottles)£1.02p
Table notes: pricing and availability last checked 19 October 2021.

When it comes to branded sparkling water, it's striking how much money you could save by using a home water carbonator.

All of the branded sparkling water bottles we found for sale are more expensive to buy per litre than using a Sodastream. If you use Sodastream refills, all of the brands cost more than twice as much.

This could make sparkling water machines highly appealing to those keen to save money and effectively have sparkling water on tap.

Sodastream set

How much does a Sodastream cost?

As well as the ongoing cost of buying or refilling gas bottles for your Sodastream, there's also the upfront costs of buying one to consider.

Although Sodastream and Aarke are the two brands you'll most likely come across at major retailers, other smaller brands are available from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.

Prices range from around £45 right up to around £200, so depending on which water carbonator you buy it could take you a long time to start seeing the cost-savings.

The cheapest Sodastream model is the Sodastream Spirit, which starts at £59.99.

If you drink four litres of sparkling water a week and count the upfront costs of the Sodastream Spirit and your first gas bottle, it would take more than a year for you to start seeing the cost-savings of using gas refills instead of buying Buxton sparkling water.

You'll need to be patient and not expect to see the benefit in your bank account for a while after buying one.

Shop smart - read our expert recommendations of the best food and drink from UK supermarkets.

Plastic water bottle pollution

Are Sodastreams good for the planet?

Saving money might not be the only thing that drives you towards investing in a water carbonator, though.

If you're concerned about how many plastic bottles you get through when buying sparkling water from the supermarket, you'll see a huge reduction in plastic waste through using products like Sodastream.

The Sodastream bottles themselves won't last forever, as subjecting them to repeated use as pressurised containers over a long period of time causes inevitable wear and tear.

This means you'll need to replace the bottles after roughly three years. A pack of two replacement bottles costs around £12 at the time of writing.

The bottles are made of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), which can be recycled along with the other recyclable plastics in your household.

The three-year lifecycle gives Sodastream bottles a far smaller footprint than buying bottled sparkling water every week.

For example, if you used your Sodastream to make four litres of sparkling water a week for that three-year lifecycle, you'd recycle two bottles instead of approximately 312 that you'd buy from the supermarket.

Although you might still feel positive about recycling all those sparkling water bottles instead of chucking them in landfill, the energy used to transport and recycle them all still makes for a significant carbon footprint.

You may also be concerned about the COu00b2 you're buying to carbonate the water, but like most fizzy drinks sold in the supermarkets, the COu00b2 is usually a by-product from the manufacturing of other products, which is then taken and used to carbonate the drinks. The COu00b2 is not produced solely for use with Sodastreams.

Sparkling water

Which? verdict

A common frustration for those who want to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle is that eco options are often more expensive, and sadly that's mostly true when it comes to home water carbonators such as Sodastream.

Even the discounted refill bottles don't really compete with the supermarket own-brands when it comes to getting value for money with your sparkling water.

Sodastreams will save you money if you regularly splash out on branded sparkling water, though, although it'll take a while for you to notice it due to the upfront costs.

The most compelling reason to stump up the money for a home water carbonator is to help the planet.

Sparkling your water at home will greatly reduce your carbon footprint, as the amount of plastic you'll need to recycle will drop dramatically, and the energy you'll use to sparkle your water is tiny compared to the amount spent on manufacturing, transporting and recycling bottled water.

Cut through the complicated symbols on packaging with our handy guide on how to recycle in the UK.