Hydration is key, especially during the warmer months. For whatever reason, I can only get myself to drink enough of the stuff if it’s sparkling. I’m one of the many to develop a taste for seltzer; a beverage category that has exploded to more than $3.6 billion in the past few decades. While tap water is free and very inexpensive to purify with a good water filter pitcher, cans of seltzer cost a pretty penny. Adding a SodaStream or a similar at-home sparkling water maker might be one way you can feed your habit for the bubbly stuff and shave several hundred dollars off your grocery bill this year.
A can of seltzer costs about $0.50 when purchased in a case. That may not sound like a ton, but those numbers add up quickly, especially for the heavy consumers among us. So how much does it cost to make sparkling water at home and how much can you save in a year if you start making seltzer at home? We did the math to find out.
The savings will vary based on how much you drink, but a SodaStream could save as much as $600 a year for a household of two people who had previously been crushing cans by the caseload. Below is a breakdown of how much you’ll save if you start making sparkling water at home. And if the fizzy stuff isn’t your bag, we previously calculated how much you’ll save using a Brita instead of buying bottled water (spoiler: it’s also a lot).
Canned seltzer vs. making it at home
|LaCroix||Canada Dry||Made at home|
|Price per year (one 12-ounce serving per day)||$182.50||$153.30||$32.85|
|Price per year (two 12-ounce servings per day)||$365||$306.60||$65.70|
How much can you save by switching to a SodaStream?
If you make seltzer water at home with a SodaStream, one-can-per-day LaCroix drinkers can expect to save $150 per year while Canada Dry drinkers will save more like $121. If you’re like me and drink two (or more) cans in a day, you can double those savings to $300 and $242 over the course of a year. And if there are multiple seltzer drinkers in your home, you can continue to multiply these savings. A family with two soda water drinkers glugging two cans each per day, for instance, can expect to pocket nearly $600 for the year.
How I did the math
To get these figures, I started with the rough estimate SodaStream gives: 60 liters, or 2,029 ounces of carbonated water from each cartridge. A single cartridge costs $15 if you use SodaStream’s exchange program. I then divided the total ounces by 12 (the total ounces in a single can,) and found that each cartridge will make the equivalent of about 169 cans of seltzer. That breaks down to 9 cents for every 12 ounces of sparkling water made at home. Finally, I multiplied 9 cents by 365 and 730 to get the yearly totals for those who drink one or two cans per day.
Another way to look at it, roughly speaking, is you’ll need about two CO2 cartridges — $30 total — to get through the year for one 12-ounce serving of bubbly water each day. If you’re a two-can (24 ounces) drinker, you’ll spend more like $60 per year on four CO2 canisters needed to make that amount.
To compare this with canned seltzer, I priced out the cost of both LaCroix and Canada Dry seltzer, which are sold mostly in 8- and 12-packs, respectively. LaCroix was slightly more expensive at about $0.50 per can, versus Canada Dry which averaged out to $0.41 for each 12-ounce can. Both were the cheapest prices I found on the internet from a major, national retailer as of November 2022.
But what about the upfront cost of a SodaStream?
In case you don’t have a SodaStream or other sparkling water maker, there is the upfront cost of a machine to consider. In the chart below, you’ll see the total yearly total cost for making at home with the price of an entry-level SodaStream Terra ($100) included. That $100 gets you the sparkling water maker plus one CO2 canister so I subtracted $15 from the previous total since the first supply of gas is on the house. The savings, even with the machine cost included, are still significant — as much as $247 for the year if you consume two cans of LaCroix per day.
Cost with machine included
|LaCroix||Canada Dry||Made at home (SodaStream Terra cost included)|
|Price per year (one 12-ounce serving per day)||$181.56||$153.30||$112.85|
|Price per year (two 12-ounce servings per day)||$363.12||$306.60||$115.70|
Other advantages to making soda water at home
I’ll be the first to admit, there was an adjustment period when I finally kicked the cans and started making sparkling water at home. It’s not that making soda water with these machines is difficult, but it is just slightly more labor-intensive than reaching for a cold can in the fridge and popping the top.
That said, CO2 cartridges last the average household months or longer, so you’re almost never without some bubbly water close at hand. And, unless you have massive dry storage space, heavy cases of soda water have to be replenished, stored and loaded into the fridge rather often.
There is also the environmental impact to consider. It’s estimated that for every ton of aluminum produced, about five tons of caustic red mud wastes are also produced, along with a host of other pollutants. And while aluminum cans are mostly recyclable, any stress that we can alleviate on our local recycling systems means they will run more efficiently.
Read more: Can You Recycle Takeout Containers? Here’s What to Know
A SodaStream may only last a couple of years
I’m a newer user of SodaStream, but a friend who has been regularly SodaStreaming for close to a decade tells me that these plastic machines often break after about two or three years of regular use. The good news is that, in most of those cases, the SodaStream had been under warranty (most come with a limited two-year) — and the company is “very good” about getting replacements out with little hassle or questions asked, they said.
Other soda water makers to consider
SodaStream may be the most well-known at-home carbonator but there are several options available in 2023. Swedish home appliance brand Aarke makes a very stylish, sturdy and completely stainless steel model, for instance. You can read my full review of the Aarke carbonator here or check out CNET’s full list of the best at-home sparkling water makers for 2023.
And for more We Do the Math, check out how much you can save by shopping at Trader Joe’s compared to other grocery stores, and if it’s cheaper to buy meal kits than groceries.