It appears I’m not the only one with a sparkling water habit. The industry, valued at $29.71 billion in 2020, according to Grand View Research, is predicted to grow at a compound annual rate of 12.6% through 2028. But anyone who goes through $4-and-up eight-packs of fizzy drinks like La Croix, Bubly, Spindrift or Perrier like they’re, well, water, knows cost adds up fast.
So when we learned of the launch of the Carbonator Pro from Aarke, a Swedish home lifestyle brand lauded for its premium quality and product design, we were eager to put it to the test and make our own sparkling water at home. The brand’s first new product in four years, it’s also its first carbonator to come with a glass bottle, making it extra sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The rundown: Easy setup, even easier seltzer
Out of the box, the Carbonator Pro looks like a work of art. Sleek, minimalist and modern, the silver stainless steel machine arrives in one large piece (it’s also available in matte black), along with a sturdy, durable glass bottle and metal lid. The standard model does not include a required CO2 cylinder (a two-pack runs about $60 on Amazon), so you’ll need to make that additional purchase.
Installing the cylinder was a snap: Simply lie the Carbonator on its side atop a towel or cloth, slide the cylinder in the bottom and screw it into place. Once that’s all set, fill the glass bottle to the indented filling line (measuring 24 ounces), place the bottle at the machine’s base and press down the cover until you hear a click.
Next, you’re ready to carbonate by pressing a button until you hear a buzz. One buzz gives a little fizz, two delivers moderate fizz and three makes your water super fizzy. Finally, press the release handle down halfway to release pressure (you’ll hear it release) and then all the way to lift the cover. Remove the bottle and you’ve got perfectly sparkling water, comparable to, if not better than, any store-brand water I’ve tried.
The lowdown: Ideal fizz — and good looks
I found pressing the button twice was optimal for immediate drinking, and three times was best when I wanted to save some of the water for later. With three presses, the water was still somewhat fizzy even after leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.
Now, I’m a big fan of plain sparkling water (and love it at happy hour with vodka and a lime wedge), but I also sometimes crave flavor with my bubbles. Aarke sells its own brand of flavor drops and mixers for $13.50 each, which we’re anxious to try — how delicious do Cucumber and Lime or Wild Strawberry sound? But I found water drops from grocery store brands, and even just a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange, did the trick.
Cleaning the machine is a snap too. It comes with a cleaning cloth to keep the metal fingerprint-free, and the glass bottle is dishwasher-safe. But you will need a good amount of counter space for the Carbonator. It’s cord-free (which I love, love, love), but it’s tall, measuring 20 inches high, 6.7 inches wide and 11.4 inches deep — and it won’t fit under standard kitchen cabinets. If you have a wet bar, though, this will become the star of your countertop. Thankfully, it’s not too heavy to move around if you’re short on space, weighing just over 8 pounds, and it looks great sitting on my kitchen island with no messy cords getting in the way.
Bottom line: A sleek option for seltzer fans
So what does all this great engineering cost? Well, it’s quite pricey at $350. But the Carbonator Pro’s handsome, high-quality construction is built to last a lifetime (it comes with a two-year warranty), and if you’re a sparkling soda addict like me, you’ll put it to use daily. My family of four goes through at least two eight-packs of La Croix per week, which runs about $415 a year (gulp), so even at $350, the Carbonator seems to be a wise investment.
Environmentally friendly, fun and easy to use, pretty to look at and cost-effective in the long run, the Aarke Carbonator Pro pays for itself in a year; in other words, it makes me extra, you guessed it, bubbly.