We’ve owned a SodaStream for a few years because my wife loves soda water. We don’t actually drink any soda but she just likes to use it to carbonate water. It touts itself as a cheaper alternative to buying fizzy drinks at the store but after a few CO2 refills it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not saving you quite the amount of money that you had hoped for.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. A Sodastream refill contains 14.5oz of CO2 which is apparently enough to carbonate 60l of water and it costs $15.That’s 25¢/l of water. This compares with $1 for a 2l bottle of seltzer water (50¢/l) at the store. A 50% savings isn’t bad, but when you factor in the need to go to a special store to get the CO2 refill or to have it shipped to you, the hassle and the cost quickly gets eaten up and becomes moderate at best.
If you start looking for off-brand SodaStream refill tanks, you’ll soon note that you can’t find any and this is because SodaStream uses a proprietary thread on their cannisters. Additionally, a one-way valve on the cannister means that it can’t be refilled even if you had an adapter to connect to it.
So where does that leave you? Fortunately, some smart people have developed an adapter which converts the proprietary SodaStream thread to the standard thread used for paintball CO2 tanks.
Paintball tanks? What!?
Yes, paintball tanks. Paintballs guns use CO2 to fire the weapon, so they have small CO2 tanks very much like the SodaStream cannisters.
These adapters to convert the SodaStream thread to the paintball tank thread and range in cost from about $25-60. I chose the one for $25 as there were plenty of good reviews of people saying that it had worked successfully for them.
The tanks are relatively inexpensive and the size of tank you get will depend on the size of your SodaStream unit and how large of a tank it can hold. My SodaStream unit can hold 12oz paintball cannisters and I was able to find them for about $20 each – just a little more than the cost of a SodaStream cannister refill.
Because the need to refill paintball CO2 tanks is somewhat common, there are many places where you can easily refill these types of tanks. Most sporting goods stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority allow you to refill CO2 tanks (and luckily for me, there’s a Sports Authroity right across the street from my office). The best part of it is the cost. I filled up my two tanks this morning for $3 each. That’s 12oz of CO2 for $3 compared with 14.5oz of CO2 for $15. Therefore, getting your own CO2 costs about 24% of what it does to buy it from SodaStream.
With those kind of savings, it doesn’t take many refills to recoup the upfront cost of the adapter and the paintball tanks. And better yet, compared to the cost of buying soda water at the store, using your own CO2 in your SodaStream unit is about 12% of the cost. Now that’s a savings worth getting excited about.