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Water bubbler test: The test winner at Stiftung Warentest


Bubbling instead of dragging?

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SodaStream and MySodapop in comparison

The majority of Germans buy cheap mineral water in disposable returnable bottles. The empties usually end up in recycling, but the plastic waste is not environmentally friendly. An alternative is the water bubbler: make the mineral water yourself, you don't really get away cheaper, but you save yourself having to drag bottles and use less plastic. Stiftung Warentest tested water bubbler models and recommends the Aarke Carbonator II for around 150 Euro. With some sodas from Sodastream and Soda Trend you pay half. Carbon dioxide fillings for the gas cylinders are added as running costs. You can find out everything about water aerators here.

The test was carried out by Stiftung Warentest and published in issue 7 / 2019 released.

The manufacturer SodaStream is still the market leader among water aerators. There are now alternatives, at least as far as the devices themselves are concerned. The gas cylinders used have a universal size anyway and are interchangeable. You can get new carbon dioxide for bubbling by exchanging the empty cylinder in the supermarket or drugstore for a full one. This exchange system was in the hands of SodaStream for a long time, now there is a somewhat cheaper alternative with Soda Trend. Stiftung Warentest tested how effectively the water bubbler models convert carbon dioxide into carbon dioxide and how ergonomic and safe they are.

The result: Of the seven water bubblers in the test, four received the overall grade ” Good”. However, only three models can fully convince the testers when bubbling up, three other devices only make the water sparkling and a water bubbler is completely too lax. Market leader SodaStream only came fourth and sixth with its models in the test. Handling and safety are fundamentally good for all bubblers. In one case, the testers found increased levels of pollutants.

All You can read details of the test and the entire ranking at test.de.

You can read that in our article: We present the recommendations from the test first in an overview and then in detail. Then we give you a price estimate and explain the test procedure of Stiftung Warentest. You will also learn more about water aerators and what you should pay attention to when buying. Finally, we answer further open questions.

Soda-winner

  • Source: Aarke

    Aarke Carbonator II

    Quality rating: Good (2.0) The Aarke Carbonator II is a stable water bubbler made of stainless steel and produces sparkling water – but it is also quite expensive.

  • Source : Soda Trend

    Soda Trend Style

    Quality rating: Good (2.0) The Soda Trend Style is a solid and affordable water bubbler , which can score especially when it comes to water enrichment.

  • Source: KitchenAid

    KitchenAid Artisan bubbler

    Quality rating: Good (2.2) The KitchenAid Artisan is an extremely stylish and yet powerful water bubbler – but very expensive.

    around 300 Euro, currently out of stock

These are the best water bubblers according to the Stiftung Warentest

1st place: Aarke Carbonator II

  • Source: Aarke

    Aarke Carbonator II

    Quality assessment: Good (2.0) The Aarke Carbonator II is a stable water bubbler made of stainless steel and produces sparkling water – but it is also quite expensive.

Benefits
Good carbonation
Stable housing made of stainless steel
High level of security in operation
Disadvantage
Changing the CO2 cylinder can be difficult I
No CO2 cylinder included
Quite expensive to buy

The Aarke Carbonator II is not only one of the two test winners with the overall rating 2.0 (good), the water dispenser is also extremely compact and looks classy , The housing is made of stainless steel, the models are available in black, white, silver, copper or brass. With its easy-to-use spray lever, the water bubbler is reminiscent of a tap. The Aarke is stable despite the narrow profile and only 41 centimeters high. Changing the CO2 cylinder is a bit cumbersome, the device has to be put down for this. For the handling there is the grade 2.2.

the bubbling the Aarke fully satisfied (grade 2.1). The maximum carbon dioxide level is 4.4 grams per liter, which corresponds to classic mineral water from the store. Depending on the provider for the filling of the CO2 cylinder, you pay between 16 and 19 cents per liter. The testers rate the security as very good (grade 1.4), there are no sharp edges on the housing and the pressure limitation reduces accidents. The plastic bottle is stable. The pollutants are far from the limit values ​​in the test, but not quite perfect. In the environmental test there it the grade 1.6.

The Aarke Carbonator II is a high-quality and stylish water bubbler, but also costs significantly more than the plastic alternatives: You pay around 150 Euro. A replacement plastic bottle costs around 18 Euro. A CO2 cylinder is also not included in the purchase, Aarke recommends SodaStream here.

The water aerator test winner Aarke Carbonator II is available in several colors. Image: Aarke

2nd place: Soda Trend Style

  • Source: Soda Trend

    Soda Trend Style

    quality assessment: Good (2.0 ) The Soda Trend Style is a solid and inexpensive water bubbler, which is especially useful for water enrichment can score itself.

Benefits
Best carbonic acid content in the test
Satisfactory handling
Effective pressure limitation
Disadvantage
Water bottle not quite stable
Device a bit bulky
Bubble button stiff

The Soda Trend Style receives consistently good marks in the test and is the second test winner with an overall rating of 2.0 (good). According to the manufacturer, the Soda Trend Classic model is identical, only the appearance differs: the style variant is available in silver or black. The housing is made of plastic, but is solid enough and stable. Changing the CO2 cylinder works without any problems. With its height of 47 centimeters, the water bubbler needs a little more space. The handling is good (grade 2.4), the testers found the button to bubble up stiff.

When Bubbling the Soda Trend achieved the top grade in the test (1.6). The highest enrichment level results in a carbon dioxide content of 4.8 grams per liter, which is great. The bubbler is even a little more effective than Aarke's competitor: you pay between 15 and 19 Cent. The protection against overpressure is very good, but the drop cap broke the bottom cap of the plastic bottle. The testers rate the security with a grade of 2.0. At the pollutant test there was just a good (grade 2.5), limit values ​​are not broken, but plasticizers can be measured in water.

The standard device Soda Trend Style of the direct SodaStream competitor you get for around 80 Euro, the identical Classic Model is a little cheaper. There is always a water bottle and CO2 cylinder. A replacement water bottle costs around 10 euros, but sometimes you get cheaper sets.

The cheap but effective Soda Trend Style is one of the two water bubbler test winners. Picture: Soda Trend

3rd place: KitchenAid Artisan water bubbler

  • Source: KitchenAid

    KitchenAid Artisan bubbler

    Quality rating: Good (2.2) The KitchenAid Artisan is an extremely stylish, yet lei durable water bubbler – but very expensive.

    round 300 Euro, currently out of stock

Benefits
Chic retro design
Good carbonation
Best handling in the test
Disadvantage
Very expensive
plasticizer detectable in water
No own accessories on offer

The KitchenAid Artisan is a real eye-catcher, with its polished retro metal design, the water bubbler is definitely something. And behind the show is a solid device with good performance. But you pay a hefty price for it. You can comfortably bubble with a lever. The analog display is advertised, which supposedly measures the carbon dioxide content in the water. In fact, it only shows how long you pressed the lever – so it's just a gimmick. The dimensions remain within the frame, but due to its massive construction, the water bubbler is the heaviest in the test. The CO2 cylinder is easy to change. For the handling there is the top grade in the test: 2.0.

at Bubbling gives the KitchenAid good results (grade 2.3): The maximum carbon dioxide content of 4.2 grams per liter is on the Level of a classic mineral water from the shop. The bubbler is very economical with CO2 filling: depending on the provider of cylinder filling, you pay between 14 and 17 Cent. The security is very good (grade 1.3). The pressure limitation proves to be reliable and the plastic bottle is stable. Since plasticizers can be found in the water – even if below the limit – there is in the environmental assessment only a satisfactory (2.7).

The design costs: You pay around for the KitchenAid Artisan 300 Euro. The water bubbler is temporarily out of stock, both at Amazon as well in other shops . The bottle and a CO2 cylinder are included. The device is “powered by SodaStream”, KitchenAid only supplies one bottle and otherwise recommends SodaStream bottles. You can get this for around 9 euros.

The KitchenAid Artisan bubbler is chic but expensive. Image: KitchenAid

How much do I have to spend on a good water bubbler?

SodaStream is the water bubbler market leader, thanks to many years of experience, the PepsiCo subsidiary offers a large selection of beverage syrups, sells Sprudler models in various price ranges and has the cylinder exchange with retail partners. System built. You get current models for 70 to over 100 Euro, with different amounts of accessories such as replacement bottles included. Because the interchangeable universal cylinder is used in almost all water aerators, other manufacturers also sell devices. Soda Trend even cooperates with retailers and offers cheaper refills of CO2 cylinders than SodaStream. The soda from Soda Trend costs around 80 Euro. Devices from other manufacturers are often more expensive than the SodaStream and Soda Trend models; they focus on good ergonomics and stylish design. Discounters sell cheap alternatives, but the bubbly is only available as a promotional item.

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Water bubbler in the test: How does Stiftung Warentest evaluate it?

When testing the water bubbler, Stiftung Warentest significantly evaluates the bubbling itself, which does 50 percent of the total grade. For this, the water is enriched with a maximum of CO2 and then the carbon dioxide content is checked. Since mineral water types with a lot of carbon dioxide (“Classic”) from the store contain between 4.2 and 6.2 grams of carbon dioxide, this acts as a guideline. Only if the carbonated water in the bubbled water is within this range can the device really produce sparkling mineral water. Some devices produce a maximum of “medium” water. The testers also calculate the price per liter of sparkling water, measure the loss of carbon dioxide from the water after storage and check whether the fill level information is correct.

The rest of the overall grade consists of the ratings in the categories handling, safety, health and environment. This is how the testers assess how easy it is to insert the bottle into the holder and how tight the closure is. However, the simplicity of cleaning and changing cylinders as well as the space requirement of the device are also assessed. The safety rating takes into account sharp edges on the water bubbler itself, but above all pressure limits and the breaking strength of the water bottles. The bubbled water is finally examined for possible pollutant residues, which can pass from the plastic bottle, among other things.

You can read all details about the test and the entire ranking for a fee at test.de.

The decisive factor is how much carbon dioxide the bubbler can produce. Image: bhofack2 / Getty Images

How does a water bubbler work?

If carbon dioxide is combined with water under high pressure, a small part of the gas reacts with the liquid and becomes carbonic acid, the rest dissolves in the water , It is a simple technique that has long been used to produce sparkling mineral water. Water bubblers also allow sparkling water to be made at home, but the devices differ in their effectiveness. The bottle of tap water is inserted into the bubbler and the carbon dioxide is pressed out of a gas cylinder at the push of a button. There is a pressure relief valve to prevent the bottle from bursting or cracking when it bubbles up. The decisive factor is how much carbon dioxide is produced in the water before the device stops supplying gas. If the connection is leaking, carbon dioxide can escape unused or the water overflows.

There is usually a visible difference between the water bubblers in the material. The bottle can be made of plastic or glass. The plastic bottle is more manageable and cheaper, but usually cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher and does not look particularly pretty either. The glass bottle makes more and is dishwasher safe. Water aerators with a glass bottle are also bulky. A splinter guard made of metal or fabric should prevent injuries should the pressure blow the glass bottle despite all safeguards. The housing is made of plastic for the cheaper models, stainless steel and metal for more expensive water aerators.

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Gas cylinder exchange, syrup and replacement bottles

To 50- to 80 – repeated bubbling in the water bubbler, the empty CO2 cylinder must be replaced. It would be far too expensive and environmentally harmful to buy a new cylinder every time. Therefore, there is an extensive exchange system: In many supermarkets, electronics stores, hardware stores and drug stores, empty cylinders can be exchanged for filled ones. You only pay for the carbon dioxide filling, additional and new cylinders are available from specialist dealers or online. SodaStream originally promoted the exchange system, but some chain stores now cooperate exclusively or additionally with Soda Trend, where refills are somewhat cheaper. Since the gas cylinders have a universal size and fit in almost all water aerators, you are flexible here.

With the water bottles, all manufacturers rely on their own designs. The bottles usually fit into different water aerator models from our own range, there is only limited interchangeability between manufacturers. Additional bottles for the water bubbler are useful, not only as a replacement, but also as a supply for celebrations or for water with different levels of carbon dioxide. If it should be more than just mineral water, the manufacturers offer beverage syrups for fruit or soft drink taste. Since the syrup is added to the bubbled water anyway, you are not bound by brands. Market leader SodaStream offers a fairly large selection of mixtures with dosage instructions, including low-calorie and organic syrups.

With the right syrup you can spice up the water from the water bubbler. Image: Nednapa / Getty Images

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What should I look out for when buying a water bubbler?

  • bottle material

    You can choose between plastic and glass bottles for the water bubbler. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The plastic version is usually cheaper, and replacement bottles also cost less. If wear and tear leads to the plastic bottle no longer being able to withstand the pressure when it bubbles up, it can burst – but the risk of injury is low. Plastic bottles have to be cleaned by hand and have a minimum shelf life, so they have to be replaced regularly. Glass bottles are of course much nicer, especially if you have guests. And the carafes can also be easily put into the dishwasher. The water bubbler for glass bottles has a splinter protection, because if an excess pressure breaks the bottle, there is a risk of injury. This makes the devices more expensive and bulky, and of course the replacement glass bottles cost more.

  • filling volume

    The size of the suitable bottles for the water bubbler varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Fit into the standard plastic bottle from SodaStream 840 milliliters of water, you can use the glass bottle with 615 Fill milliliters. Elsewhere you will find bottle sizes with 900, 800 or 600 milliliters capacity. So you have options if you want a little more, especially if you drink straight from the bottle. With the somewhat unwieldy glass bottles, a larger filling quantity can save work. The quantity differences are not too big, so additional bottles are generally more sensible than larger bottles. Then you can bubble up as much as you like.

  • space

    Water aerators do not normally take up much space. The base plate must be large enough so that the device is stable and does not wobble. Here it is with about 15 times 25 Centimeters mostly done. The universal cylinder generally has a small diameter so that it does not take up much space. Most of the differences between the water bubbler models are in their height. It depends on how high the water bottle is and how compact the bubbler mechanism was built at the top of the device. In some cases, other design decisions also lead to a more massive housing. As a rule, the height of the water bubbler is 40 to 45 centimeters. Devices in which the bubbler is pushed upwards when opened are a special case. This is the case, for example, with the SodaStream glass carafe models. Here you need 10 centimeters more space.

  • Handling

    Although the technical differences between the water bubbler models are small, some offer Devices more comfortable than others. This includes how easy it is to change the CO2 cylinder and how well the water bottle can be screwed in or attached in some other way. Sometimes you can do it with one hand, but sometimes you have to hold the whole device when you fix the bottle. This can often be estimated solely with the help of user experience. Demonstration models in retail can only be found selectively. It makes little difference whether the bubbler has a push button or a lever.

There are small but subtle differences between the water bubblers. Image: brazzo / Getty Images

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Can I save money with the water bubbler?

There are many good reasons to use a water bubbler, such as not lugging crates of drinks or avoiding plastic waste. It is less of a question of money, because sparkling mineral water is extremely cheap in the discounter, the cheapest brand only costs 13 Cents per liter. Only the most effective water aerators create this liter price. Depending on the price for a filling of the CO2 cylinder and how much sparkling water you can produce with it, you usually pay more 16 Cent. And here the purchase costs for the water bubbler and any replacement bottles are not included. Although you also have various additional costs when buying water in a supermarket, such as transport home, you will still find it difficult to save money with the water bubbler. On the other hand, you gain flexibility and convenience.

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How do I have to clean the water bubbler?

You should pour the bubbled water. The water bottle of the device is not suitable as a sports bottle anyway. If you drink straight from the bottle, it is important to clean it thoroughly so as not to contaminate the bubbler with germs. You have to wash the plastic bottle by hand, it is not suitable for the dishwasher – but the glass bottle is. Since germs are naturally found in tap water, regular cleaning of the water bubbler nozzle is still necessary, otherwise bacteria can collect. The housing can usually be wiped off well, but this is sometimes a bit cumbersome for devices with a safety container for the glass bottle. Water bubbler and bottle must always dry after use.

The most important questions about water aerators at a glance

Which water bubbler is the best ?

In the test, both the Aarke Carbonator II for round 150 Euro, as well Soda Trend Style for round 80 Euro convince. Both offer pointed water and good handling. Market leader SodaStream finished fourth in the test with the Easy model, but the bubbler is cheap.

How does the water bubbler work? ?

Carbon dioxide is associated with water under high pressure , a small part of the gas reacts with the liquid and becomes carbonic acid, the rest dissolves in the water. This creates refreshing sparkling water. The water bubbler enables preparation at home.

How much space does a water bubbler need?

In terms of width and depth, most water aerators are quite compact, 15 times 25 Centimeters are often sufficient. In terms of height, there may be design-related differences: You can find models with just under 40 centimeters in height, but also above 50 centimeters high bubbler.

How much does a CO2 refill cost?

You can exchange an empty gas cylinder in many supermarkets and drug stores for a full one and only pay for the CO2 filling. There are two major providers here: SodaStream and the cheaper Soda Trend. Depending on the provider and branch, you pay between around 7 and around 8, 50 Euro.

What does a liter of sparkling water cost?

The price for a liter of water from the bubbler depends on the effectiveness of the device and the price of CO2 filling. Bubble at the highest level, i.e. classic mineral water, pay between 14 and 19 cents per liter. Cheap supermarket water costs around 13 cents per liter.

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