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The Aarke Carbonator III Is My Gateway to Quitting Soda—and It’s Beautiful, Too
Courtesy of Aarke

Value: 16/20
Functionality: 19/20
Quality: 19/20
Aesthetic: 19/20
Speed: 20/20
TOTAL: 93/100

It’s a 2022 resolution of mine: To stop drinking sugary carbonated drinks (Coke! Ginger Ale!) as a pick-me-up during an exhausting time. (I’m a mom of a preschooler working full-time with on-again, off-again childcare thanks to COVID. Some days, it’s the little things.) When the Aarke Carbonator III was put on my radar, it sounded full of promise: A beautiful countertop dispenser that has the ability to turn regular old tap water—New York City’s is the best—into a bubbly beverage that quenched my thirst? Tell me more.

The setup takes about two minutes. The hardest part of setting up the Aarke Carbonator III was finding a spot on the countertop in my Brooklyn apartment. (Space is at a premium, of course.) But the Carbonator has a pretty low profile — the width is about six inches while the depth is closer to 10. I was impressed by how little real estate it actually takes up. Ahead of finding a place to set it, I had to assemble it, another aspect of the Carbonator that was simple and quick. I laid it on its side, inserted the gas cylinder, per the directions, rinsed the water bottle with lukewarm water and was good to go. (No batteries or plug required, btw.)

My first attempt at bubbly water was a miss. The secret to a successful carbonation effort with the Carbonator is all in the lever pull. Let me back up: To make your own sparkling water with this countertop gadget, you first add water to the bottle’s fill line, twist it onto the socket, then pump the lever at your discretion to add the bubbles. (Aarke suggests between one and three pumps, depending on how carbonated you prefer your sip.) This is where I made a mistake. When you pull the lever, you have to hold it down until you hear a consistent buzzing noise. I went too quickly—aka I didn’t wait for the buzzing—and got zero carbonation on the first attempt. But once I got the hang of the lever pull, I had a crisp bubbly beverage in hand in 10 seconds or less.

After that, it was smooth sailing, er, sipping. I cannot stress enough how user-friendly this machine is. I even experimented with Aarke’s flavor combos (wild strawberry and citrus twist were favorites, but FYI, they’re sold separately). This was an upgrade on my soda habit and fancy-feeling, too. Keep in mind, the up-front cost starts at $219, depending on your color choice, and you’ll have to replace the Sodastream gas cylinder that comes included every so often. (It’s estimated to yield about 60 liters of water before a replacement is required, which will run you about $15.) Still, it’s an investment that’s ultimately cost-saving depending on how much bubbly water you tend to drink.

Final note: It’s beautiful and eco. The Carbonator is the like the KitchenAid of bubbly water makers. The latest model comes in a range of matte color options, too. (I opted for Sand.) It’s chic and I’m proud to display it. Oh, and the fact that it reduces my personal volume of recyclables? Let’s just say this could be the year I win at resolutions.

Try It Yourself (Starts at $219)

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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