Are You Addicted to Soda? Do You Want to Cut the Calories? Then You've Gotta Try Soda Stream!


I am the first to admit that I have a huge addiction to soda. I don't drink coffee so for me this is my one major addiction. I like to drink soda at least once a day, which obviously isn't that great for my figure, nor am I setting a great example for my kids. When I came across SodaStream I was really excited because I not only did I find a machine that makes soda but its healthier, cheaper, greener and easier to store than regular soda I buy at the store.

Watch This!

SodaStream Review - The Penguin

The Penguin Starter Kit is $249.95

I was thrilled to be able to review the Penguin by SodaStream. This model is the first one by SodaStream that offers glass carafes instead of plastic ones. For me, this was huge because I love things that are dishwasher safe. The glass bottles are also easily hand-washed as well. I just know that if I had gotten the the plastic bottles my husband would automatically have thrown them in the dishwasher because he refuses to hand wash anything. In addition to the glass carafes the Penguin is my favorite model because of its sleek and modern design. It fits in seamlessly with today's kitchens.

The Penguin Features:
  • customized carbonation level
  • easy to clean
  • automatic access gas release mechanism
  • minimal space usage on counter tops

For review I received the Penguin as well as several different soda flavors plus a few sparkling water flavor samples to try out. The Penguin comes fully assembled, but I had to learn how to open the back and install the jet carbonator, which was a very simple process. I also had to learn how the remove and replace the glass carafe and properly slide and then screw on the tops for the carafes.

Once the machine was all put together I was excited to make some soda! I will say that there was a learning curve to preparing the soda the way that you like it. For me, it took me about four or five tries before I figured out how I like to make it. On the back of the Penguin there is a lever, pulling this lever determines how much carbonation is added to the water. According to the directions you want to push down on the horn until you hear two whistles for a lightly carbonated drink or three or four whistles, which produces a stronger carbonation. I like the stronger carbonation myself for the sodas.

Once the water is carbonated the pressure release button needs to be pressed to release the excess gas. I love the hissing sound it makes when the carbon dioxide is escaping! Once you remove the carafe from the stainless steel flask you are then ready to add the flavoring.

One thing that was a little frustrating for me was there wasn't any instruction as to how much syrup needed to go into the carafe. My first try I didn't put enough and the root beer I made tasted funny. I eventually figured out that I was supposed to add a full cap full of the syrup to the carbonated water. Once I figured it all out I started trying out several of the flavors.

Like many parents I don't like to give my kids soda but occasionally I do as a treat. Its mostly because I don't want my boys getting as addicted to soda as I am. The soda flavors from SodaStream are made with Splenda, not sugar, so they have less sugar, carbs and calories than regular store bought soda. I love knowing that my kids can have soda as a treat and they don't realize the difference between what's in the can versus what came out of the SodaStream. My son's favorite flavors are orange and lemon-lime. He drinks them all the time. I like to fill small bottles and send them in his school lunch too, he loves that he gets to drink soda at school.

I grew up on soda, my favorite being Coke. I tried the cola flavor with an open mind because being that I am a soda connoisseur I wanted to know if I would like the flavor. In all honesty, it doesn't taste like Coke, but it wouldn't because its made with Splenda. It is palatable and I could definitely drink it as a substitute. I really want to try the cherry cola flavor but I haven't found available in the stores near me. Overall I would say that its a great, healthier and cheaper option if you are looking to cutback or set an example for your children.

I really like that when I run out of the syrup flavors I can go to Macy's (my favorite place to shop!) and get some more. It is also available at the Kohl's across town from me. The bottles of syrup average around $5 per bottle. It was cheaper at Kohl's by about 50 cents but for me its not worth the drive so save the 50 cents because Macy's is pretty much right down the street from my house.

There is only one thing about the machine that really bugs me. When the Alco2Jet Carbonator is empty there are very little options for refilling it. I can't purchase a new one at Kohl's or Macy's but there are a few locations where I can exchange my empty for a full one. Unfortunately for me the closest one to my house is about 25 - 30 minutes away. You can also order exchange carbonators from the SodaStream online store. It is recommended that you have three carbonators on hand so that if one runs out you have a replacement while you are waiting to get the next one. The cost for exchanging two empty 60L carbonators for two full ones is $29.99. In my case however I will need to order 1 spare and 1 exchange because my husband threw away one of the empty carbonators because he didn't realize that I could exchange them for refills. The cost for 1 spare and 1 exchange is $39.99.

The Penguin - Pros vs. Cons

The Pros
  • A healthier way to enjoy soda - no aspartame
  • I don't feel guilty when my kids drink it
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • Easy to use, easy to store
  • Dishwasher safe carafes
  • Cheaper than store bought soda
  • Flavors can be found at local retailers as well as online
  • Less packaging than store bought soda - reduces your carbon footprint
The Cons
  • It doesn't taste exactly like store bought soda
  • Extra glass carafes are not readily available in stores (plastic ones are) - but can be purchased online
  • The carbonators need refilling and that is expensive
  • When the carbonators need refilling you are out of luck if you don't have an extra one handy because it is not something that you can readily purchase at a moment's notice
  • If you prefer to purchase flavors at your local store the selection is limited

Overall I have to say that it is a very cool machine. I love being able to offer soda to my family and friends that is healthier. It would be a great addition for a weight loss plan for someone like me that loves soda but hates the extra calories. My son loves the soda and I don't have to cringe anymore when I let him indulge. I definitely recommend trying any of the SodaStream soda makers if you are looking for a great new way to enjoy soda. A soda maker would make an excellent gift as well. The SodaStream line of soda makers are available starting at $99.95.


*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. I received the Penguin from SodaStream in exchange for writing an honest review. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*


Smarti said…
I have been dying to get one of these and then I found out that it was sweetened with Splenda and not 100% sugar. I guess I just do not trust artificial sweeteners- give me plain old sugar. Plus, it seems like a headache to refill the CO2 once its used up. I'm not sure if it will be something I will continue to use on a regular basis- it's just too expensive. Nobody loves soda that much- only kids! Just my 2cents-
But it is so cut though! I secretly still want one. Oh
buzzd said…
I have been thinking about one of these. I drink alot of soda. I was most worried about it not tasting as good as soda in a can. May be worth trying.
sksweeps said…
I won one of these, and found the same pros and cons. I had really been craving Cream Soda, and it IS one of the available flavors... just not at the Kohl's that is near my house (I haven't tried other places). To order it on line seems to defeat the eco friendly part of this. But, if I order replacement CO2 cartridges, I may well add Cream Soda. At this point, I'm undecided about whether I'll continue to use it when the initial CO2 runs out. If I don't use it, I don't drink soda at home, but drink homemade lemonade instead (cheaper and I think, a bit healthier). Hmm... what to do!?
Haylee said…
This looks really cool! I'd heard about it before but never had known what is was exactly until I read your review. And I think you've persuaded me:)
Glogirl said…
Great review-very thorough! I have heard about these make-at-home soda machines and would love to try one. I enjoy soda as a treat but do not drink it on a regular basis. It would be great to make your own soda without all the sugar that store bought sodas contain.
Amy G. said…
I also have an addiction to pop, so this product sounds really cool. I would love to give something like this a try, I would just hope it really tastes as good as brands like Coke and Pepsi. If it really tastes good, it would be a great alternative.
Pamela S said…
My family of adults and teens drink a lot of soda. I've been curious about this. Thanks for the thoughtful in depth review. Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)aol(DOT)com
slehan said…
I also won one of these. (hooray for contests!)
I like the ginger ale very much and I get it at Amazon since my local store doesn't carry it. I've had it several months and I'm still on my first CO2 cartridge and I can get it locally when I do finally run out. I got several flavors with the machine and I've tried them all but the ginger ale is the best for me.
The soda stream sounds like a perfect gift for my daughter. she is 25 and needs her soda daily! This sounds like a healthy alternate.
Michelle S. said…
I enjoyed reading your review. I have been interested in this gadget for some time now. I wouldn't care for the fact that some supplies need to be purchased online. Not that I mind buying things online, but I would prefer to have it available in stores as well.
Angel Jacklyn said…
I am also a huge soda fan and do not drink coffee as well. I so want one of these but don't have the money to buy one! Maybe you could let me know who you got in touch with? I own a blog myself called Hypnotic Blend @ and you can email me @ and thanks for taking the time to read this! =)
amj1989 said…
A friend of mine has a Soda Stream and I've tried the lemon/lime. It's pretty good,but, soda will always be the real thing
Ravzie said…
I think this is a great idea! You could save a bundle making your own soda. It would be great to regulate the amount of sugar in the drinks!
susan1215 said…
Good review, I was wondering if the soda tastes as good as what I buy at the store. I like that they have a lof of flavors. Good way to save money.
I was fortunate enough to get one of these a while back. I love mine (although I am out of carbon once again) and use it all the time. It's so much cheaper than store bought and although it took me a little while to get use to the difference in taste, I now cannot drink a store bought soda anymore, they are much too sweet. I couldn't live without it
Anonymous said…
I'll admit I tried to cut soda but instead became addicted to coffee!
This Soda Stream Idea could maybe be my next transition? good review, Thanks!
Rae said…
Like the first person who commented, i was excited about this product until I read that the sweetener used is splenda. I'm super anti "sweeteners" that are man made. Sugar, agave, honey - that's for me. I have found agave sweetened sodas that are great. The machine sounds like a lot of fun to use though.