Aarke Carbonator 3

There’s a big trend nowadays towards at-home sparkling water machines, one of the hottest categories in small appliances. I have a carbonator at home, but the Aarke Carbonator 3 sparkling water maker really takes things to another level, so I was excited to try it out.

While these machines are often called soda makers, they are really carbonators that take fresh, filtered water and carbonate it so you can drink as is, add flavouring syrups, fresh fruits or vegetables, spirits, whatever your heart desires. The advantages are obvious: not only can you save money in the long run by not buying fizzy water by the case, you will also reduce the amount of waste and/or recycling, not to mention clutter in your home. Plus, making your own soda at home is a healthier alternative, and it’s fun!

What is the Aarke Carbonator 3 sparkling water maker?

Aarke Carbonator 3 box contents

The Aarke Carbonator 3 sparkling water maker works just like other carbonators on the market, but with a special focus on design so it looks awesome on your countertop, too. Made with a stainless-steel enclosure and stainless-steel end cap with a spinning polish, it’s the most elegant looking carbonator I have seen to date. There are a variety of other finish options to choose from.

The appliance measures 5.91 inches wide, 16.14 inches high, and 10.24 inches (15.01 x 40.99 x 26 cm) deep, making it slim enough to slide between other items on the counter, requiring more height than width. At just 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg), it’s light enough to move from room to room as well, or from counter to basement bar when you’re entertaining guests.

The Aarke Carbonator 3 delivers a controlled spray of CO2 from a separately purchased canister: all carbonators require that you pick up a CO2 canister in person at a local store since these are not safe for shipping. It works with most standard 60L CO2 canisters from major brands. The water is carbonated using the included PET bottle.

The set comes with the machine, the PET bottle, instruction manual, and a few other accessories including a cleaning cloth and drip tray to place under the bottle.

Testing the Aarke Carbonator 3

Aarke Carbonator 3

The first thing you’ll notice when taking the Aarke Carbonator 3 out of the box is that this machine is a thing of elegance. It’s absolutely stunning and will add a touch of class to your kitchen. As noted, the model I received is finished in polished stainless steel, but there are five other options, including black chrome, white, brass, copper, and matte black, so you’ll easily find one to match the décor of your kitchen, bar, or wherever you plan to use it. It’s so beautifully designed, this is the type of machine you’d expect to see in a high-end hotel.

The first order of duty was getting a CO2 canister. The machine works with standard SodaStream 60L CO2 cylinders, so I picked one up from my local Best Buy. You can also swap empty cylinders there for new ones for a discounted price as needed. Each one should last at least a few months, but this depends on frequency of use.

Inserting CO2 canisterTurn the machine on its side with the lever placing up, unscrew the plastic seal, and insert the cylinder inside, being careful not to drop it in the hole or screw too tightly to avoid rupturing the threads that hold it. You might need to give it a little push until you feel it secure to the top, then start turning clockwise until it is tightened. Do the same each time you need to replace the cylinder, turning counter clockwise to unscrew the old one.

Once it’s ready to go, rinse the 0.8-litre PET bottle with lukewarm water and fill it up to the line with plain, filtered water. Never use juice, wine, syrups, previously carbonated water, or any other liquid; nor should you add things like fruits or ice cubes to the bottle when it’s being connected to the machine. I noticed the tall size of the bottle did not fit in my fridge’s water dispenser, and the small mouth at the top meant I had to hold it on an angle with one hand and manually push down on the lever to fill it: not a big deal but something to note for the refilling process.

Close up of the handle for carbonatingAttach the bottle to the socket and turn it counter clockwise, making sure it’s secured and not crooked. Push the lever down gently until you hear a buzzing noise to begin the carbonation process, then release the lever once done. The rotational damper offers a controlled release of pressure, thus allowing you to fit more water in the bottle than you might with others.

There are three levels of carbonation from which to choose: one push of the lever will give you lightly carbonated water. Two pushes add more carbonation, and three will give you heavily carbonated water. You can conserve gas and maximize the bubbles, Aarke suggests, by only pushing the lever halfway through. Make sure to hold the handle down for about 5-6 seconds until you hear the distinct noise, then raise it back up slowly and wait until the remaining pressure is released: you’ll hear an audible “puff” when this happens. Unscrew the bottle, remove, pour some into a glass or other container, add your flavouring, fresh fruit, or other liquids or solids, and enjoy!

My thoughts on the Aarke Carbonator 3

PET bottle with bubblesThe Aarke Carbonator 3 was easy to use and I love that you don’t have to plug it into power: it’s totally manual. Even after one push, the water was beautifully carbonated. I added some blackberry flavouring and it was deliciously refreshing. Two pushes of the handle and the water was slightly more carbonated, similar to store-bought carbonated drinks. With three, you get very, very carbonated water that might be best with cocktails where you’re only adding a dash of sparking water. This is also useful if you want to keep the bottle refrigerated for a few days to ensure it maintains some level of carbonation over a longer period of time. The level of carbonation, as with any carbonated drink, settles after some time and with the addition of ice. So, three level pushes might be worthwhile for those who tend to drink slowly or want to fill a water bottle they’ll be drinking and refilling throughout the day, or a series of days.

The carbonated water kept well in the PET bottle in the fridge: I refilled my water bottle the following morning and it was still nicely carbonated with the satisfying puff of air released when I unscrewed the top of the bottle from the fridge. The bottle fits enough carbonated water for about three 8-ounce cups, but it’s so simple and quick to carbonate more that the machine would work well even for large parties. I loved it for daily cucumber mint water or adding a splash or orange juice for a refreshing drink with lunch.

Aarke Carbonator 3 clean-up and safety tips 

Aarke Carbonator 3 angle

For clean-up of the Aarke Carbonator 3, wipe the machine with a soft microfibre cloth and mild soap when needed. Note that the PET bottle can only be handwashed: it is not dishwasher-safe. Use lukewarm water, mild soap, and a soft bristled cleaning brush that won’t leave scratches. You can also periodically use a clean dishcloth to wipe away excess water that falls into the spill tray.

PET bottle expiration dateIt’s worth paying attention to the expiration date on the PET bottle as it should not be used beyond that. The bottle I tested was just under a year away from the current date. You should also only use bottles from Aarke, so look for replacement bottles from the brand as needed.

Other safety tips to consider: don’t keep the machine near any source of heat, like near the stove, multicooker, air fryer, or other similar large or small appliance. Don’t tuck it away in a hot cupboard with the cylinder attached either. (Though given the style of this machine, you’ll likely want it front and centre in your kitchen 24/7 anyway!)

If you plan to take the machine to a friend’s house for a gathering, remove the CO2 cylinder first and screw it back in upon arrival, keeping it in a cool place in the vehicle for the drive over. While it’s great for parties, keep the Aarke Carbonator 3 inside, especially on hot and humid summer days.

Final thoughts

Aarke Carbonator 3Coming from a household that drinks carbonated water by the cases every month, I love the concept of a sparkling water maker at home. And one like the Aarke Carbonator 3 is especially appreciated for a few specific reasons.

The first is the design, which is not only sleek but also ultra-slim so it isn’t going to monopolize a lot of counter space. Second is the fact that it works manually, so if you have a buffet in the dining room or a small bar in the basement or den, you could easily keep it there and carbonate water as needed, without worrying about cumbersome cords.

It’s very easy to use, and the water is always sufficiently carbonated, with three levels to suit different tastes or drink types. The Aarke Carbonator 3 is the nicest looking sparkling water maker I have seen and one that would be a welcome addition to any kitchen.

Find the Aarke Carbonator 3 sparkling water maker online at Best Buy.

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