Is it worthwhile to make your own carbonated beverages?

Roughly two years ago, I bought a Sodastream water carbonator.  The Sodastream machine allows you to force carbonate water and then either drink it plain or add syrups (that the same company makes).  At the time, I was doing two things: drinking unhealthy amounts of energy drinks and moving to drinking carbonated water instead of soda.  I saw the Sodastream machine as a way of reducing my per unit costs for both and giving me flexibility regarding what I have in my energy drinks.

So, you may be asking yourself the same thing I was in the beginning: where is the break-even point is?

Lets figure it out using current costs (versus what I was paying 2 years ago).  Bed Bath & Beyond has an average looking Sodastream machine for \$100.  The same store has jars of syrup for “Diet Energy Drink” for \$6.99.  According to the bottle, a jar is enough for 12 liters of finished product.  The machine is sold with a CO2 canister but it is only capable of carbonating 60 liters of finished product.  You can take empty CO2 canisters back to the store and exchange them for full canisters.  The last time I did that, it cost \$16.95 (at Sur La Table).  The machine only works with Sodastream bottles but one comes with the machine, so lets assume you are just using the one.

So, the per liter cost for syrup is [pmath size=10]6.99/12 = .5825[/pmath] and the per liter cost for CO2 is [pmath size=10]16.95/60 = .2825[/pmath], putting the per liter cost for “Diet Energy Drink” at [pmath size=10].5825+.2825=.865[/pmath].  This, of course ignores the value from the initial CO2 canister that is included with the machine.

Earlier today, I bought commercial diet redbull from the store, at a cost of \$3 per 16 ounce can.  This means that the cost per liter is roughly \$6 per liter for commercial redbull.  So, savings over the commercial stuff is [pmath size=10]6 – .865 = 5.135[/pmath].  So, based upon a \$100 fixed cost, what is the break-even point? [pmath size=10]100/5.135 = 19.4742[/pmath].  We can round that up to 20.  Based upon a habit of a liter per day, we can say that that you break even in 20 days.  That is not a bad deal.

How does the math work out if you just want carbonated water?  The equation would be [pmath size=10]100 / (1 – (16.95/60)) = 139.3728[/pmath], based upon a commercial cost of \$1 per liter.  This would mean that based upon a 1 liter per day habit, you would break even in roughly 4.6 months.

More likely than not, your break-even point would be slightly different, depending on your preferences and habits.  By the way, I have noticed that the Sodastream diet energy drink doesn’t seem to have the same “kick” as the commercial stuff but I do like the taste and it does keep me going.