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The Aarke Carbonator Pro is a seltzer lover’s dream

08.13.2022 · Posted in Technology Articles
black kitchen appliance with clear glass bottleI admit that I haven’t always been a fan of seltzer (I thought it tasted like boring soda), but at some point in my mid-20s everything changed. The LaCroix boom happened, and sparkling water suddenly burst onto the scene as a new, young, cutting-edge beverage. Now, in the age of spiked seltzer and CBD soda waters it’s hard to overstate the culture impact seltzer water has had, and I have to confess, I’ve started to love it, too. What could be a better pairing with any meal? A more invigorating drink on a swelteringly hot summer day?  Although sparkling water is undoubtedly an incredible beverage, it’s not always simple to procure; lugging those liter-sized bottles or a case of full cans from the grocery store is a pain, and delivery can be expensive. The environmental impact, too, can make it difficult to justify buying bottles of sparkling water. It’s hard to enjoy some nice bubbly water when you’re drinking it out of a single use plastic, or an aluminum can or glass bottle that may or may not get recycled.  That’s where Aarke’s Carbonator Pro comes in. The at-home water carbonator features a simple interface, a reusable glass bottle, recyclable and renewable CO2, and, most importantly, produces top-notch soda water. 

How’s the seltzer?

For the home seltzer enthusiast, bubble structure — essentially, the type of fizziness the water holds — is undoubtedly a top priority. A loose bubble structure can feel like slightly larger bubbles, and give a less aggressive sensation of fizz, while a tight bubble structure features tiny bubbles, and a more prominent burn from the carbonation (think McDonald's Sprite). While there are merits to both, I prefer a tighter bubble structure (go big or go home, you know?) which I find more bracing, and also helps to better cleanse your palate between bites at mealtimes.  Bubble structure pretension aside, I’m happy to report that the Carbonator Pro produces sparkling water with a tight but delicate bubble structure every time. By repeating the carbonation process, users can add more bubbles to the sparkling water, but generally the result doesn’t vary greatly.  For best results, Aarke recommends using cold water, as that will help to retain more bubbles, but I would also add that users should cap the glass bottle and refrigerate after carbonating in order to maximize fizz. Keeping the bottle open, or letting it significantly warm up will lead to less carbonated water.  Flavor, of course, will be largely based on how you’re sourcing your water. The flavor and quality of tap water will vary based on location, and filtered water should provide quite a neutral flavor. For those wishing to zest up their carbonation experience, Aarke also offers a variety of flavor drops in wild strawberry, black raspberry, cucumber lime, and citrus twist.

How to use the Aarke Carbonator Pro

Perhaps the best part of the Carbonator Pro is that it’s exceedingly simple to use. In fact, upon arrival I had it out of its box and carbonating my first bottle in under seven minutes. Everything about the Carbonator Pro’s design is incredibly intuitive. The bottle of CO2 screws easily into the device, and from there carbonating your water is a matter of lowering the cover over the glass bottle and pressing the large metal button on top of the machine until you hear a buzz. 
fingers pressing down on top of a black soda maker with glass bottle
The Carbonator Pro has a simple one-handed operation. Credit: Sam Stone / Mashable
The glass bottle is dishwasher safe, so users can easily keep it clean, and the machine itself requires little to no cleaning.  I was particularly impressed by the Carbonator Pro’s renewable CO2 as well as its recycling program. According to its website, Aarke sources CO2 within the agricultural industry, which means that the gas powering its machines is 100 percent renewable. The recycling program is another bonus. For $21 per cylinder exchange (you have to trade in two used cylinders at a time), users can get fresh CO2 on demand. This means you’ll only be paying for the gas that you use, and when you’re ready for a new shipment, they’ll be sent right to your door. You can even exchange CO2 cylinders from other brands with Aarke's Cylinder Loop program, which is pretty cool.

You get what you pay for

There’s no way around it: The Carbonator Pro is expensive. At $349, it is one of the most expensive countertop water carbonation devices on the market today. Still, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The Carbonator Pro is a top-of-the-line appliance, so its price seems consistent with its functionality. It’s also worth considering that the included glass bottle and renewable CO2 cylinders are more environmentally friendly than some competitors.  Overall the Carbonator Pro stands out because of how easy it is to use, its consistently stellar results, and its incredibly chic design. Of course, it’s worth noting that depending on how much sparkling water you drink, the Carbonator Pro could actually pay for itself rather quickly. 

Cons of the Carbonator Pro

The Carbonator Pro is a triumph of design, so the cons are minimal, but there are a few minor inconveniences to contend with. Chiefly, I was surprised at how large it turned out to be. At 51 centimeters tall and 17 centimeters wide, the Carbonator Pro is a significant presence on most countertops, and while it may not be wildly larger than many other carbonators on the market, its size can feel imposing nonetheless.  Another slightly irksome detail was the residual water often found in the machine after carbonating. Aarke’s user guide suggests that this is a result of overfilling the bottle, but trust me when I tell you, dear reader, that is that not the deal. All in all it wasn’t a huge inconvenience by any means, but the tablespoon or so of water that would often be left in the machine took a few minutes to clean up, and happened nearly every time I used the carbonator. 

Is the Aarke Carbonator Pro worth it?

Overall, it’s difficult to find flaws in the Carbonator Pro — it’s meticulously designed, and it’s easy to see how using this machine could seamlessly weave its way into your daily routine. While it has a couple minor faults and is on the pricier side, the pros far outweigh the cons for me.

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