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In houses all over the country, there are SodaStream machines of various types and vintages, but right now, on the Sodastream website, there’s a choice of four new machines: the Terra – the simplest of the lot; the Art, which has an attractive design and an unusual lever operation; then either the Duo, or the Aqua Fizz (depending on where you live), which work with glass bottles; and the plug-in E-Terra.
All of these are compatible with the new gas cylinders, which have been designed to be easier to insert into the machine.
We’re reviewing the E-Terra, the electric model.
Design and build
Low energy use
Easy to set up and use
Fun light-up feature
The E-Terra is a simple, modern-looking SodaStream machine, with a textured design on its hood.
It’s a slender 12cm wide and only 18cm deep, therefore easy to find a spot for on your countertop. It’s tall at 42cm, although not too tall to use under overhanging kitchen cabinets. It’s available in black or white in the US, but we could only find the black model available in the UK.
Buy an E-Terra starter kit and in the box you’ll get the machine, a one-litre, reusable, BPA-free plastic bottle and a gas cylinder. The plastic bottle is dishwasher-safe. It’s a shame that the E-Terra is not compatible with glass bottles, for both environmental and aesthetic reasons. Still, plastic bottles are probably safer if you have younger children who are likely to use the machine.
The set up is as fast as can be, although to get the best, fizzy results, you’ll want to fill the plastic water bottle to the wiggly fill line and cool it in the fridge first.
Prepare the gas cylinder by peeling off the seal and popping off the lid. Then remove the back from the machine, slot in the cylinder and press down the lever, which pulls the cylinder into place. There’s no longer any need to screw it into the machine. We wouldn’t have said that was a particularly arduous process – but this is even easier.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
Then just plug in the machine and you’re ready to go.
Using it is a simple business as well. Or at least it should be. The first time I tested it, I failed to lock the bottle into place correctly, creating a small kitchen counter deluge when the carbonating began. The trick is to make sure that the bottle is hanging – rather than standing – when you fit it in.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
On top of the machine are three buttons, for three levels of carbonation. When you press one and the fizzing begins, a blue light will illuminate the carbonation process. It’s a fun, funky addition to the machine that gives it a bit more bar presence and will definitely appeal to children.
The buttons don’t require the pressure that more traditional SodaStreams need for carbonation. Just a simple button press and you’ll get consistent bubbles every time. Again, this makes it a good option if you have kids, who’ll get to enjoy the fizzing creation process, plus a decent drink at the end.
You could argue that the E-Terra unnecessarily complicates an admirably simple, freestanding design. But the power cable is long at around 150cm, so you’ll have plenty of options where you stand it. And, as it’s only a 12W appliance, its electricity use is negligible. If you’re in the UK and on a standard tariff, an hour’s use of the E-Terra will cost you less than a penny.
Carbonation is fast – but not silent. It’s as noisy and bubbly a business as you’d expect. When it’s finished, that’s when you add the flavouring – if you want it. Depending on the type, you either add it straight to the bottle or to an individual glass.
Price and ongoing costs
E-Terra is a pricier model
Flavourings and gas cylinders add to the cost
The E-Terra is one of the pricier current SodaStream models. The most budget friendly model is the Terra ($99.99/ £109.99 for the starter kit), which is a basic press-pump model. You can see all the available models at SodaStream.
If you’re in the US, the E-Terra starter kit, containing the machine, a gas cylinder and a plastic bottle, is priced at $159.99 direct from SodaStream. Or you can get the machine alone from Walmart for just $115.90.
In the UK, there’s little variation on price. The E-Terra starter kit is available from SodaStream for £144.99 and Amazon for £149.99.
But buying a SodaStream is a bit like buying a capsule coffee machine: it’s not a one-off purchase. There’s an ongoing expense in the form of carbonating cylinders and (if you use them) flavourings.
According to SodaStream, a cylinder will produce (up to) 60 litres of carbonated water, which means it’ll last from 4-6 weeks, depending on how often you use it. The quick connect cylinder is priced at $16.99/ £12.99, which means you could end up paying as much as $203.88/ £155.88 a year, if you go through one cylinder a month.
There’s also an organisational element to consider: you’ll need to order cylinders in and ship back the empties.
Then there are the flavourings. In the US, there’s a lot of choice. Classic mixers cost $5.99 for 9 litres (of finished drinks) while the organic drinks cost $9.99 for ten drinks.
In the UK, it’s a bit more limited, with options including diet and regular 7-Up, Pepsi and tonic, then ginger ale, orange mango, orange and a selection of organic fruit flavours. Six packs (which make 9 litres per bottle) cost £29.94, while organic mixers cost £11.98 for a twin pack (32 drinks in all).
You’ll probably want to invest in a spare carbonating bottle or two as well. Some of the mixers should be mixed in the bottle, rather than per glass, so it’s handy to have a couple of bottles so you can refrigerate ready-mixed drinks.
Altogether, we’d say you shouldn’t buy a SodaStream hoping to save money. It’s unlikely to be more economical than buying fizzy bottled drinks and while it may well produce less plastic waste, there’s also the cylinder delivery and pickups to be factored into the environmental cost.
So, why buy a SodaStream – and should you buy the E-Terra?
If you have a SodaStream machine, flavourings and a gas cylinder in your home, you’ll always be able to make sparkling cocktail mixers or fizzy drinks at a moment’s notice. If you’re party people, or you have kids, it could definitely be worth it.
There’s also the fun factor. And if this is part of the appeal, then the E-Terra is an excellent choice. Its light-up feature and ease of use make it a great option for all members of the family.
Emma is Group Home Tech Editor at Tech Advisor. She covers everything from kitchen appliances to smart home devices, from floor care to personal care to air care technology. She’s particularly interested in environmentally conscious brands and products that save people time and money.