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Sodastream: Can you Save Money By Making Soda at Home?

Updated on May 17, 2014
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Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

Sodastream Genesis- A Gift that Keeps on Giving?

My wife drinks a lot of soda. You might call it "pop" or "soda pop". I call it expensive.

I know approximately how much diet soda my wife drinks because I haul maybe 1/3 of the soda bottles that she drinks from the grocery store and 100% of the empty bottles back to the store to get the bottle deposit back and recycle the bottles. I only bring 1/3 of the bottles home since I am rarely allowed to go grocery shopping anymore. More about that in a future post. In addition to the bottles that I am so familiar with, she also gets refills at the convenience store in 32 oz plastic cups (or sometimes even 44 oz cups). That's a lot of soda and a lot of $$$.

So for Christmas I decided to get her a Sodastream. For years she has wanted to get a soda fountain at home, with Sodastream that seems practical now. You can buy small containers of syrup, and a CO2 canister that fits into the machine to add carbination. This is a small machine, the bottle in the picture is a 1 liter bottle. Also nice is that the machine does not need to plug into an electrical outlet. The pressurized CO2 canister provides all the energy the machine needs to add fizz.

Sodastream Genesis
Sodastream Genesis | Source

Getting a Great Deal on a Sodastream Machine

I went to Target about a week before Christmas. I found the Sodastream set that included the machine, 2 of the bottles, and a full set of about 12 flavor packs to try including Diet Cola- her favorite. I bought this for $100 plus tax. After putting the machine in my trunk, I drove by a Kohls store on the way home. I remembered that I had a 20% off coupon for Kohls in my wallet. Does Kohls sell Sodastream? I usually shop for kid's clothes or women's clothes at Kohls. For my kids or wife, of course. What else do they the sell? I went in and after a bit of wandering around I found the same Sodastream set for sale. Also for $100 plus tax. BUT I HAVE A 20% OFF COUPON! When I checked out, the cashier printed out a mail-in rebate receipt for $10 as well. So I saved $30 for about 10 minutes of my time. My next move was to return the original machine to Target- the return went smoothly and I got $106 credited back to my card.

Is Sodastream Cheaper than Buying Soda at the Store?

So, is the Sodastream cost effective? As a Christmas present, it was 100% effective since my wife got something that she wanted and appreciates. And she likes the Sodastream soda. But is it going to save us money? The soda bottles my wife likes come in 8 packs of 12 oz bottles at a typical cost of $4.00. I won't count bottle deposit since I get that back anyway. Also, I won't count the cost of hauling bottles to and from the grocery store since we will still go to the grocery store anyway, but it will be nice not to haul bottles. The cost works out to 4.17 cents per fluid ounce for store bought soda in bottles, which is the majority of the soda that we buy. At the convenience store, a 32 oz refill goes for $1, so this works out to 3.13 cents per fl. ounce.

Sodastream 60L CO2 Carbonator
Sodastream 60L CO2 Carbonator | Source

How Much Does it Cost to Make Soda with a Sodastream?

How much does it cost to make Sodastream soda? There are 2 ingredient costs that I will include: the flavoring, and the CO2. I'll count the water as free (we use tap water) and I won't include the $70 cost of the machine (because it was a present). A bottle of flavoring that makes 12 liters (or 50 servings of 8 oz) costs $5 retail. The CO2 replacement cylinders cost $30 for a new 60L cylinder, or $15 for a cylinder exchange. You can exchange empty Sodastream cylinders for full ones at stores such as Target or Walmart. I'll use the cost of a cylinder exchange to calculate the cost of making soda, since that is the most likely way you will get more CO2 over the life of your Sodastream.

The CO2 refills are surprisingly expensive, nearly 45% of the cost of making soda with Sodastream. Making the Sodastream 1 litter bottle of diet cola calls charging the bottle with CO2 until you can hear it buzz loudly 3 times. This amounts to 25 cents of CO2 per 1 litter bottle.

So the cost to make Sodastream soda is .... 1.97 cents per fluid ounce. This works out to $1.89 for the equivalent of an 8-pack of 12 oz bottles instead of $4.00. The cost per liter is $0.67, so this amounts to $1.33 for a 2 liter bottle, which is a bit less than common prices for 2L bottles of soda in stores.

Graph: Making soda with Sodastream is cheaper than buying soda at a store
Graph: Making soda with Sodastream is cheaper than buying soda at a store | Source

Conclusion

Sodastream soda costs slightly less than convenience store soda refills, and is a lot more convenient. Sodastream is a good money saver for people who would otherwise buy bottles of soda at the store in sizes less than the giant 2 liter bottles.

It's a Good Deal if You'll Buy Less Soda at the Store...

Since my wife drinks the small bottles, this looks like it will save money for us. With the cost savings plus the convenience and fun of making soda at home, as well as reducing plastic consumption, Sodastream has some advantages. A serious penny pincher may be able to find CO2 refills at a lower cost. Apparently Sodastream uses a proprietary adapter so the price is pretty high for the replacement cylinders that fit the machine. Perhaps the CO2 could be re-filled locally for much cheaper? Of course I'll look into this when we need a refill...

One risk in purchasing a Sodastream is that the novelty of making soda at home will wear off, and you will not get much cost benefit if any before the machine gets stored in the cupboard, or the cost of that first refill cylinder will be too steep and you'll never order one. Another risk is that the flavor of the Sodastream soda will not compare favorably with your favorite brand, and you'll end up buying soda at the store anyway. So far this has not been a problem at our house.

Star Rating- Product quality of Sodastream
Star Rating- Product quality of Sodastream | Source

Sodastream Star Rating

5 stars for Sodastream

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher

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    • drpennypincher profile image
      Author

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Update: The Sodastream model I have, Genesis, takes only the 60L CO2 refills. A new 60L tank costs $30 at local stores, or $15 if you exchange the empty tank for a full one.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Excellent info! I've wondered about the SodaStream. I buy 2 liter bottles and don't drink it every day, so the machine probably wouldn't be cost effective for me. Plus, I think I would get lazy and not use it. Is the flavor really the same?

      I loved how you broke down the costs. Very valuable info. Thanks for doing that!