Product: Penguin Home Soda Maker
Rating: Strong Recommend*
Just days after I'd gotten deep into replacing our cans of fizzy water at the office with an entry level SodaStream soda maker (which I really like), Sara, Ursula and I visited with friends for the weekend, and got to use their high end Penguin machine. Despite its bulkier appearance, this thing is very cool and works much faster than the one we have.
Please Note: I had to do the whole thing with only one hand, so it's a bit bumpy
The video up top tells the whole story, but the basic advantage of this machine is that it not only has much nicer glass carafes (which you wouldn't mind putting on your table during dinner), but it also charges the water up more quickly by creating a tight seal as the top drops down over the bottle and locks around it.
Unlike the plastic bottle machine (entry level), which requires you to screw the bottles on and off to make a seal, you can throw bottles into the Penquin's metal bucket, clamp down the top and gas up fast. This means - for us - that making a new carafe is super easy to do during dinner or whenever needed, and we drank more water as a result. At night we got into the habit of each filling a carafe, gassing it up and taking it to bed with us.
For a household (or office) that really likes to drink fizzy water, this user friendly machine makes much more sense and I think the added cost is worth it. For those who don't drink it often, this would be overkill, and the plastic bottles are better for those who travel with water. However, all bottles come with tops for storage and can be purchased separately.
All in all, I give this a big thumbs up, and am happy that this is a greenish product, with refillable carbonators, so that there's no hardcore, regular waste.