REVIEW – If you’re a sparkling water lover, then you know the first world problems I’m about to outline. Lugging bottles around the grocery, into the car and then inside your home is a pain. Storing the bottles can be difficult. Reaching the bottom third of your bottle to find that the carbonation is pretty much gone is a bummer. But what if you didn’t have a bottle at all? What if you just had a machine that carbonated your water by the glass? That’s the life I’m currently living with Carbon8 sparkling water dispenser.
What is it?
The Carbon8 is a water dispenser that produces sparkling water by the glass and features UV light sterilization in the tank and mineralized filtering that improves the taste.
What’s in the box
- The Carbon8 machine
- A rubber mat to place it on
- A CO2 cannister
- A drip tray
Setup and features
I thought the Carbon8 would be a snap to set up because all you do is screw in the CO2 canister, plug it in, attach the drip tray, and pour some water into the reservoir. How hard is that? Well, let’s just say I’m kind of clutzy and “challenged” sometimes, and I had the WORST time getting that CO2 cannister installed. First of all, the sleekness of the design means you can’t really get your fingers into the recess where the CO2 cannister goes. It’s a tight fit. So tight that the hole where you screw the canister in tilts out so you can get it started easily. Easy for some, I guess. I wrestled with the canister, got it really stuck, and had to tip the whole thing to get it out and start over. By that time, both side panels had popped off, and I was quite ready to throw this thing out the window. I didn’t, though, mostly because I had to write this review.
Once I got the canister installed, I filled the reservoir with tap water and chilled it in the fridge. If I had any advice for the Carbon8 team, it would be to figure out a way to dispense cold sparkling water, and I would be over the moon. As it is, you can keep the reservoir in the fridge, put ice cubes in the reservoir, or fill it with chilled water if you want your sparkling water cold. The reservoir holds 1.5 liters, and the mineralized filtering eliminates chlorine and microplastics and mixes in minerals found in spring water to make your water taste great.
In addition to tank sterilization, the Carbon8 also has blue light sterilization as it dispenses. It also makes it look really cool as it streams into your glass. To get it to dispense, you just touch the water/glass symbol on the top. It continues to run for a second or two after you stop touching the dispense, and it sort of has a little “sneeze” as it stops. I don’t know if there’s anything the Carbon8 team can do about that, but you do get used to it.
The water is bubbly and tastes great. The unit itself is sleek and has a really small footprint. I absolutely love the Carbon8, but those canisters of CO2… still vex me! I had to change canisters, and I still struggled with getting the old canister out and putting the new one in. I think I will get better at it, but if you get the Carbon8, just know you aren’t alone if you have trouble. Once it’s in, it’s great.
Carbon8 offers a CO2 exchange service where you save the box your canister arrived in, put in the spent canister, and scan a QR code for a mailing label. Pop it in the mail, and they automatically bill your credit card and send you a new canister. They have a similar program for the mineralized filter, which they recommend you change once a month. I have been using pre-filtered water to fill the reservoir, so I plan on changing my filter every time I change my canister. I have not noticed a difference in taste so far, so I think my filter is still doing the job. If you aren’t interested in using their canister exchange service, the machine takes standard 400-425g/60L cylinders (except quick connect).
My only other criticism of the Carbon8 is that the top is made of shiny black plastic that really shows fingerprints and dust. I wish they would have chosen something that didn’t need a daily wipe off. Otherwise, this thing has been a game-changer for me. I used to get my water delivered from the grocery store just because I didn’t like having to handle all that weight all the way to my door, but the delivery people didn’t like it either, and would only deliver a few at a time. Now I don’t worry about any of that! I have a limitless supply, and I never have to deal with the flat half of a bottle.
What I like
- No more bottles!
- Endless supply (until you run out of CO2)
What I’d change
- Different top plate that doesn’t show fingerprints
- Chilled water would be amazing
- Make changing canisters easier
I really like the Carbon8 sparkling water dispenser when I’m not changing CO2 canisters. I’m happy not to have to deal with bottles anymore!