We just can’t seem to get enough of our kitchen appliances, from the ones we use everyday to those we have tucked away in a cupboard for those just in case moments. Now if you’ve been thinking about getting a soda maker, you might be thinking about whether or not you have enough room left on your countertop or enough power outlets to handle yet another electrical appliance.
But this may not be something you have to worry about IF you choose the right model.
So does SodaStream need electricity or batteries to function? That depends on which type of soda maker you are using. There are three main types of soda makers produced by SodaStream at the moment:
|Item||Sodastream Model||Powered By||CO2 Cylinder Capacity||Weight - Pounds||Dimensions - Inches|
|1||The Fizzi||Cylinder||60 Litres||4.65||8.1 x 8.1 x 17|
|2||Fizzi One Touch||Electric||60 Litres||7.49||6 x 10.8 x 17.3|
|3||Aqua Fizz||Cylinder||60 Litres||8.13||10.5 x 6.25 x 17.2|
Of these three, the Fizzi and the Aqua Fizz don’t need any electrical power to carbonate your water bottles. The One Touch does require an electrical outlet due to offering different carbonation levels.
The first and third soda maker models don’t need any electrical power source since their carbonating process revolves around opening and closing a valve from the carbonating cylinder to your water bottle. By pushing the button, you control whether or not the valve is open.
The One Touch has a slightly more complex system, needing a basic switch apparatus inside the soda maker.
The Fizzi and Aqua Fizz: No Electricity Required
If you have a small kitchen or your power outlets are simply in hard to reach locations, you’re in luck with either of these two soda maker models. Both the Fizzi and Aqua Fizz don’t require any electricity to fill your carbonating bottle with delicious sparkling water. But how do they work if they don’t use electricity to transfer carbonation to the water?
For the Fizzi, the process is extremely simple. The carbonating cylinder is installed at the back of the unit and attached to the transferring valve that opens up a short pathway from the cylinder to the carbonating tube at the front of the machine.
Once you’ve inserted an appropriately sized carbonating bottle into the front slot of the soda maker, the Snap-Lock system will hold the bottle in place and the carbonating tube should be dipped deep into the bottle reservoir of water.
When you press the button at the top of the machine to begin the carbonating process, you’ll notice that the carbonating tube dips down further into the water. This manual process is actually opening the carbonating valve between the cylinder and the water bottle. As a result, CO2 gas rushes from the valve out into the compressed exit of the carbonating tube.
The tube is narrow enough that it forces the gas to disperse through the bottle of water and diffuse in short controlled bursts. Because the process is entirely mechanical, there’s no need for any electrical power source; just the force of your finger pushing down on the button and opening the valve manually.
However, certain models of the Fizzi will come with a proprietary “Fizz Chip”. These additional components are electrical and are only used to display how much gas is left in the CO2 cylinder, as well as a rough estimate of carbonation currently in the bottle being charged.
This electrical chip rests behind the digital display that sits atop the soda maker apparatus.
Of course, the chip does require electrical power to function, although you still don’t need to plug the soda maker into the wall or use a big battery that requires recharging.
Instead, the Fizz Chip relies on its own micro battery that sits on the chip itself. In the event of your Fizz Chip display dying, you can always replace the chip through an easy maintenance process.
The Aqua Fizz soda maker model also doesn’t require any power for its operation. Just like the Fizzi, the Aqua Fizz has you insert a bottle into place and press a button manually to dip a carbonating tube down into the water reservoir.
This process also opens the valve between the carbonating cylinder and the bottle of water, causing the gas to rush out and diffuse into the liquid beneath. The main difference is in the soda maker apparatus shape and overall stability.
With the Aqua Fizz model, the bottle is placed in a small indentation at the ground for added stability. You will close the top of the Aqua Fizz soda maker over the bottle itself, rather than leaving the bottle locked less than an inch off the ground as you would with the Fizzi. You still push a mechanical button that forces the valve between the carbonating cylinder and the water open; it’s just in a slightly different location.
Unlike the Fizzi, the Aqua Fizz does not have a digital reader or a Fizz Chip. You should never have to use any electrical components or replace any batteries when using your Aqua Fizz, as a result.
Replacing the Fizz Chip Battery
Let’s go over the Fizz Chip replacement process in case you ever need to get your display working again on the Fizzi SodaStream model. Be sure to order a new Fizz Chip Battery from the SodaStream website once your display has died; this is the best way to ensure that you get a battery of the correct voltage and size for the chip.
To begin, you’ll notice that there is a small slot at the top of the chip or display area. This slot is sized perfectly for a standard flat head screwdriver. You should take a screwdriver and pry the display chip off of the soda maker gently and catch it with your other hand. You shouldn’t need to use a lot of force to remove this chip.
Once you remove the chip, you’ll see a perfectly shaped indentation at the top of the soda maker, so replacing the chip should be easy enough by matching the edges of the interior shapes.
The backside of the chip might look a little complicated, but the battery is easily identifiable as a silver circle that will rest beneath another silver plate. The silver plate and battery should only be about the size of your thumb. You can take the same screwdriver you just used and push the battery out from under the plate gently and carefully.
Take care not to rub the screwdriver edge against any of the other parts of the Fizz Chip.
Take the battery out with your fingers once it has been loosened. Next, take the new battery that you should have received from your Fizz Chip replacement kit and make sure that the side of the battery with a “+” sign is face up. Slide the battery beneath the silver plate all the way until it doesn’t move any further.
If done correctly, the chip should give an affirmative beep to signal that it has been repowered and is ready to go. Turn the chip over in your hand to see the display and confirm that it has reactivated.
To replace the chip in the top of your soda maker, simply position the bottom two tabs on either side of the chip to the corresponding slots on the left or right. Alternatively, position the chip so that the “reset” word is labeled on the bottom left of the display. Slide the chip into place until you hear an affirmative click.
That’s all there is to it! It might be tempting to try to replace the battery inside the chip with a similarly sized battery you might have from another appliance or gadget. But we would caution against doing this since the battery is for the Fizz Chip are designed to have the correct voltage and perfect size to fit inside the silver plate.
While it’s possible you might strike it lucky and find the perfect battery that can fit with the chip, you’ll have much better odds if you just contact SodaStream and ask for a replacement.
Shipping doesn’t usually take too long and you’ll have your display back up and running soon enough.
The One Touch: Some Power Needed
The One Touch has a power cable that runs from the back rear of the soda maker base into an appropriate outlet. The power adapter that comes with your One Touch purpose is the only power cable designed for use with this model of soda maker; you won’t be able to mix-and-match different power adapters if your current one breaks or stops working.
In this case, you’ll need to contact SodaStream and order a replacement power adapter if you want to use the soda maker.
This model of soda maker needs a power source because it offers up to three different carbonation settings, which you can choose by selecting the appropriate button at the top of the machine. Each button corresponds to a different valve opening from the gas cylinder to your bottle of water. Since it’s not possible to manually control carbonation very precisely, electrical control is the only option.
However, the electrical needs of this appliance are extremely low. You shouldn’t ever find that your soda maker shorts out your wall outlet or prevents other appliances from running at the same time. It has a max power consumption of 12 W and a max current of 0.5 A.
Make sure that you don’t set up your One Touch soda maker anywhere that water can easily affect the cord or the plug. It’s extremely dangerous to handle electrical appliances in wet conditions.
You’ll also want to keep the cable away from sources of extreme heat, like the vents of your oven. Extreme heat can melt the plastic sheath of the cable and expose the delicate wiring beneath. This is a quick way to ensure that your power adapter fizzles away sooner rather than later.
How to Fix/Replace the One Touch Power Source
If your One Touch soda maker isn’t working properly, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to try to fix the issue.
First of all, make sure that the power cord is actually plugged into the back of your soda maker. In some scenarios, the cable may need to be inserted into a bottom jack at the very base of the soda maker. In others, the cord will be permanently attached unless you remove the backplate and detach it manually.
Next, make sure that the power adapter is securely plugged into an electrical socket that is currently working. You may need to press the button in the middle of the power socket to bring new power to the plug.
If your electrical cord or power adapter simply aren’t working, you’ll need to contact SodaStream customer service and inquire about a replacement adapter. In most cases, will simply send you a totally new cable and adapter along with instructions to replace the cable at the back of your unit.
Powered vs. Unpowered
So there are both unpowered and powered of soda maker models to choose from. But which one should you go with, and why?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the key takeaway is that all soda makers have the ability to properly carbonating all water. There’s no difference in the quality of the soda between the electrical One Touch or the manual Fizzi or Aqua Fizz models.
The biggest plus that the electrical One Touch model has in its corner is its ability to carbonate your beverages to different levels at just a touch of a button. It’s in the name, after all.
All you have to do is press one of the three coordinated buttons at the top of the soda maker and your water bottle will come out exactly as carbonated as you like.
On the other hand, the unpowered soda makers require you to push down and hold on the carbonating button to dictate just how carbonated you want your beverage.
Most of the time, SodaStream recommends that you use these models by pushing down only in short bursts between one and two seconds in length. This prevents you from accidentally over carbonating your water or from straining the valve button at the top.
So you do have the ability to customize the carbonation level of your beverage with either the Fizzi or the Aqua Fizz, but it takes a little more work and attention on your part. You have to pay attention to the carbonating happening in the bottle so you don’t over or under carbonate your sparkling water.
If you over carbonate there’s no way to remove the bubbles afterward!
There’s a slight learning curve as you start making your own custom sodas or sparkling waters as you figure out how much carbonation is perfect for your taste. But the One Touch has preprogrammed carbonation settings that have already been tested by the manufacturer to be acceptable for most people.
It’s a lot easier to simply plug in a bottle, set it to a preprogrammed carbonation setting, and enjoy your soda than it is to test out manual carbonation timings. However, people who like to customize their beverages might find the hands-on aspect of the Fizzi and Aqua Fizz models to be enjoyable.
In terms of maintenance, both types of soda maker are roughly the same in terms of frequency.
The unpowered models sometimes have maintenance issues when their carbonating buttons don’t work properly or they don’t stay open as long as they should.
This is usually a simple fix involving tightening the valve at the back of the soda maker, but sometimes it requires that you send in your soda maker for maintenance or buy a new model.
On the flip side, the electrical One Touch sometimes runs into chip problems that aren’t as easily fixable as the chip on the Fizzi. If the display or the electrical buttons on the One Touch go kaput for some reason, you’ll likely have to send the soda maker in for maintenance or buy a new one. It’s much harder to fix problems with those buttons than it is to fix the single button on either the Fizzi or the Aqua Fizz.
However, there’s an environmental benefit in using either of the unpowered soda maker models. Even though the power draw from the One Touch isn’t very extreme, it’s still a consistent drag on your electrical bill and doubtlessly uses more energy than either of the other two models.
Using a soda maker is already a little more environmentally friendly than purchasing disposable bottles and cans of soda.
Why not go all the way and use an unpowered drinks maker, too?
There’s also the question of cost, but it’s not a straight line where the unpowered models are automatically cheaper. The Fizzi is the cheapest model, followed by the One Touch, then the Aqua Fizz.
This is mostly because the Aqua Fizz has the fancy apparatus that locks the carbonating bottle into place while keeping it on the ground. The One Touch is more expensive just because of its electrical abilities and easy customization.
Overall, there’s no one right answer. Consider for yourself which type of soda maker sounds better for your kitchen and whether you have available power outlets and go from there.
Go forth and Sodastream! …and if you need some more information on how to use any SodaStream then have a look here.