Ranking Popular SodaStream Flavors From Worst To Best

Making sparkling water at home with a SodaStream can save money and reduce wishful recycling for those of us hooked on carbonated drinks. We switched years ago to an at-home SodaStream once we saw the pile of delicious, delicious store-brand La Croix (don't judge!) stack up from our heavy, daily quota. Once the carbonation machine entered the picture, we never looked back. Curious about how to also reduce your sugar intake without resorting to lackluster sparkling water flavors? Look no further. 

We ranked SodaStream's line of flavor enhancers to help you decide where to get started with the brand's roster of fruit, lemonade, and cola varieties. Popular alternative flavor enhancers range from brands such as organic H2WOW and Stur Drinks to energy drinks and Crush soda-flavored drops. However, we stayed loyal to the flavors available at the official store, which does require a minimum purchase to avoid shipping charges. You can also find SodaStream flavors at retailers like Amazon, Target, or Walmart. However, most flavors are typically sold only in packs at the online giant and with limited in-store selections. While Walmart offers a wide selection in-person and online, watch out for outdated labels and discontinued flavors. For some, these might be a bonus.

Fortunately, you can stay right here if you just want to know which flavors are worth the investment — and where to track them down!

15. Limebubly Drops

bubly Drops is an official partner and brand made by PepsiCo. The benefit of bubly is you won't find any added sweeteners, just flavor. Of course, what "natural flavors" means as the only ingredient on the bottle, is anyone's guess. The problem with Limebubly Drops is that the taste isn't very memorable. We mixed the unsweetened, natural flavor essence at the recommended ratio of ¾ teaspoon per liter, but the lime provided more of an accidental aftertaste than a fresh squeeze of citrus.

Even after we included another ¼ teaspoon in the mix, the lime failed to add much flavor to the plain carbonated water. We decided that the extra essence had improved the hint of lime, but an artificial undercurrent still made it taste more like a drink left out too long in the sun than an enhancement. As part of the original flavors, lime disappointed with its total miss on the real deal. Most of our taste testers agreed the added drops didn't increase their enjoyment of the drink due to overall bitterness. There was no typical citrus tang or hint of sweetness.

If you can't reach for a lime wedge, Limebubly might be a solution. However, if you're buying individual bottles instead of multipacks, we recommend leaving this Sodastream flavor out of your rotation.

14. Grapefruitbubly Drops

Grapefruitbubly is another one of the original SodaStream flavors. This flavor imparts an unexpected bitterness that overpowers the first sip, similar to the Limebubly. Following the recommended ratio, the fruit element was mild and gave the effect of biting into a grapefruit rind rather than the expected tang. The bland flavor is all the more embarrassing considering that Pamplemousse ranks as one of the best La Croix flavors – maybe we can thank the French pronunciation for translating the flavor better than its English counterpart?

After a few sips of the Grapfruitbubly Drops, there's a mild citrus flavor, but the balance of sweet and citric acid filters through a metallic lens. The oddest part is that the bubly drops come packaged in mini glass bottles, similar to alcohol served on an airplane. The best part of this essence? We found that it really, truly smells like grapefruit when poured into a glass with sparkling water. We're still unsure if the aroma makes up for the brand's commitment to the bitter taste of naringin in a grapefruit.

Overall, we found that other SodaStream grapefruit flavors played better to the fruit's strengths — like a pucker combined with a sweet punch of citrus — and that puts this natural essence toward the bottom of our list. Would we recommend you buy this one? Not really. However, since many of the bubly flavors are available in multipacks, you might be unable to avoid it.

13. Strawberrybubly Drops

We're typically big fans of strawberry-flavored foods. So, in the case of the Stawberrybubly Drops, it wasn't a matter of flavor but a lack thereof. Even for devotees of the often mild La Croix, this natural essence offered more of a remnant of flavor when mixing the recommended serving. We added another ¼ teaspoon to the sparkling water, as we had with other bubly varieties that failed to impress. Until we really added the syrup, the water tasted watered down.

In terms of the essence, the strawberry is bright and lacks any off-putting artificial elements like other lower-ranked flavors. That said, we're most reminded of a pink, strawberry Starburst thanks to the burst of berry flavor followed by a hint of sweetness. Not exactly a strawberry flavor straight from the earth. Still, this one lets the sparking water be water. The end effect was underwhelming, but anyone looking for a mild flavor could adjust this one to taste — even if it won't last as long as other bubly essences.

12. Strawberry Watermelon Zero Calorie

The idea of melding fruit flavors like strawberry and watermelon seems like a dream combination. We bought this zero-calorie drink mix as part of a multi-pack and applaud the lack of high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame (sorry, but the potentially cancer-causing artificial sweetener tastes like regret). Despite the high hopes, Strawberry Watermelon Zero Calorie was one of our least favorites in this ranking.

While the mission for zero calories is noble for people with health concerns, we found the aftertaste of substitutes sucralose and stevia to taste artificial. The WHO is reinforcing its warnings about sugar substitutes because they can alter our perception of sweet foods like fruit. So, best to avoid high doses. Everything in moderation, right?

At first, this flavored carbonated beverage features a bit of strawberry, but the watermelon is lacking. One of our testers looked forward to the watermelon flavor but found this the most disappointing result. Overall, the strawberry flavor, by way of the candy aisle, reminded us of a Fla-Vor-Ice popsicle, which might be a good thing. Or, perhaps, more like carbonated Kool-Aid? Depending on the person, this might be just what you want. We were looking for more of a balance between the berry and melon. Plus, the bubbly syrup coated the mouth with a lingering saccharin aftertaste.

11. Mangobubly Drops

Even though the Mangobubly is an original flavor, not everyone appreciates this SodaStream fruit essence. However, we found it quite drinkable — just not what we expected. First of all, the juicy aroma of mango filled the air as soon as we twisted off the tiny cap. The first sip is heavily sweet and fruit-forward. The odd part about this essence is that we couldn't have told you that the fruit was supposed to be mango. Someone suggested that the flavor was cantaloupe. We found the fruit essence vaguely tropical with a bit of tang.

For those who love mango, this fruit essence might be somewhat disappointing. One of our testers who adores the tropical fruit found that they preferred the real deal. The mango aroma was more authentic than the taste, which added to the overall experience, if not the flavor. Still, this fruity essence is a solid option for a mild, carbonated flavored drink. Perhaps, the brand captured the mango with more authenticity than the canned varieties. Perfectly passable, but we wouldn't reach for this flavor over some of the others on this list.

10. Lemon Lime

We know we're in for a good time when sugar is the first ingredient listed. Although, the first thing we noticed about the SodaStream Lemon Lime drink mix was the refreshing citrus lime smell wafting from the bottle. At first sip, the syrup has a sweet, citrus taste. However, this budget soda is less refreshing than a 7UP. Maybe we should compare this flavor to Squirt Soda without the tartness — at least from what we remember from childhood.

For sugar content, Lemon Lime Soda contains 15 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving. A can of 7UP will set you back 38 grams of high-fructose corn syrup. It also turns out our memories were less than reliable. A 12-ounce bottle of Squirt Citrus soda features the same amount of sweetener as 7UP.

We found that Lemon Lime develops more citrus flavor after taking several sips. The lemon also stays on the palate, which might be why our affinity for the drink mix increased with subsequent tastes. The opposite occurred with some other flavors on this ranking. Our taste testers agreed that the crisp, light flavor doesn't have a muddled taste like some of the bubly essences. This effect bought points for Lemon Lime!

9. Root Beer

Every ranking needs a middle option that neither disappoints nor tries to stick out of the crowd. For us, the SodaStream Root Beer drink mix is the definition of a mid-range sparkling water flavor. It's actually quite drinkable — in an off-brand soda kind of way. This drink is very much a root beer flavor, complete with vanilla and a hint of licorice, reminiscent of the simple sweetness of those classic barrel-shaped candies.

The best part is that we didn't notice any artificial notes, even with the addition of sucralose. Perhaps because this sparkling water flavor is made with real sugar. We appreciate that you can adjust the syrup based on the levels marked on the cap. We stayed with the recommended mid-point. The brand promotes reduced sugar — a full 50 percent less than other sodas. We have to agree it's a perk. A&W root beer contains around 16 teaspoons (via Michigan State University). Each 8-ounce serving contains 11 grams of sugar, which is well less than half of what you'd consume from a serving of a name-brand root beer.

We liked the burst of flavor upfront, especially in contrast to the fruit essences. Of course, you won't find any ginger spice or complex wintergreen in this flavor profile compared to A&W. Traditional root beer fans might be underwhelmed by this syrup.

8. Cranberry Raspberry Zero Calorie

We bought a multipack of zero-calorie drink mixes from Amazon to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about for these top-rated flavors. Despite the many positive reviews online, we still felt hesitant about dabbling in the sometimes murky waters of sweetener alternatives. We find the copycats fail more than they succeed when mimicking the taste of white granulated sugar or delicious, delicious cane sugar.

Well, we stand corrected. SodaStream's Cranberry Raspberry Zero Calorie drink mix is a burst of flavor without the lingering feeling of something being very off with our soda. The cranberry is strong up front, offering a pleasant acidity that puckered the mouth and tongue. The raspberry finish evens out the tannic nature of the cranberry. The citric element is strong but not overwhelming due to the blend. The balanced flavor resulted in a bump in this ranking; it proved to be one of our testers' favorites for this very reason. Also, we found the mixture avoids a heavy syrup texture even with the higher ratio of drink mix to sparkling water when compared to the bubly flavor essences.

Of course, you'll need to like the cranberry flavor for this one to work. One of our taste testers admitted that while they didn't like cranberry with anything, the overall flavor wasn't half bad. Not sure how SodaStream managed the balance, but we found this flavor worth the price.

7. Homestyle Lemonade Zero Calorie

After tasting many different drink mixes, we couldn't help but be pleased with Sodastream's take on Homestyle Lemonade Zero Calorie. This syrup provided a simple take on a citrus favorite. We enjoyed the combination of carbonation with lemonade. Be warned, expect a heavy saccharine taste up front.

We didn't rank it higher on this list because the clawing sweetness left a hint of aftertaste that lingered on the tongue, but not in a good way. This feeling could only mean one thing: sugar substitute. Sodastream's lemonade is made with sucralose and stevia to remain in the designated "zero calories" category. We will admit that most people likely won't notice the sugar substitute unless drinking this upgraded lemonade alongside other drinks (like in a taste testing, perhaps?). The brand also includes B vitamins to add some natural pep as a replacement to the frantic bounce provided by sugar.

We recommend this flavor, but don't get us wrong. This lemonade won't be tart like the fresh-squeezed style sold at a summer fair, the kind melded with chunks of citrus fruit and swirling with visible granules of white sugar. If only! For its lack of real bite, one of our taste testers couldn't help but be disappointed. The rest of us agreed that we couldn't hold it against this homestyle drink for trying to live up to impossibly high standards. We also think this flavor would be one of the best for mixing a homemade cocktail.

6. Cola

For us, cola falls into the occasional treat category, and SodaStream's Cola drink mix didn't disappoint. We are fans of stopping at a bodega to grab a cold Mexican Coke in a glass bottle on a hot day. Are you wondering how a Mexican Coke tastes different from an American Coke? Simple: The addition of real cane sugar versus high fructose syrup adds the taste of something extra — even if it's in our heads or just the feel of glass instead of plastic in our hand.

SodaStream gains extra points for using real sugar instead of over-processed corn syrup. Keep in mind that the brand does use sucralose in this drink mix, but we are pleased to report the utter lack of any funky aftertaste. Adjusting the syrup level to appeal to multiple palates is a huge bonus. You might avoid a brawl between the diehard Coke versus Pepsi supporters (not that either would probably bother with an off-brand cola).

We also found this avoids a sugar-loaded mouthfeel. SodaStream cola contains 15 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving, according to the bottle, while Coke has 39 grams (via The Coca-Cola Company). Pepsi features a sizable 41 grams (via PepsiCo). By comparison, we found that the lowered sugar content landed the SodaStream Cola in between diet and regular — all with a citric bite we would expect and without any artificial aftertaste. We found this to be a solid alternative to other store-bought sodas.

5. Blackberrybubly Drops

SodaStream understands how to create a satisfying berry flavor. This Blackberrybubly natural essence is bright, rich, and has a touch of citrus that captures the tang of biting into a ripe berry. This flavor is also neck and neck with the other top contenders on the list for highly drinkable flavors we'd reach for again. Unlike the grapefruit and lime essences, blackberry leads with a touch of sweetness and finishes without any artificial or bitter elements.

With the recommended ratio of ¾ teaspoon per 1 liter of sparkling water, this berry flavor still shines through without overpowering the carbonated water. We recommend adding more flavor than recommended but not because it's too mild. Unlike others on this ranking, the extra flavor improves the taste with an added bit of berry oomph — even if you might decrease the number of drinks you'll get from the 12 liters.

We didn't rank this flavor higher because the blackberry starts to take on an artificial bitterness after sitting in the glass mixture. Maybe it's the citric acid oxidizing in the open air? We can't say for sure due to all of the bubly flavor essences listing natural flavors as the only ingredient on the packaging. Still, Blackberrybubly is a solid flavor for the price and for eliminating the pile-up of metal cans in the recycle bin.

4. Lemonbubly Drops

After the Limebubly fiasco, trying another citrus essence seemed like inviting disappointment. Lemon was also the only Sodastream flavor we could find on the shelf in a nearby retailer — Ace Hardware of all places. Who doesn't love a fresh squeeze of lemon with a cold glass of sparkling or still water? Sets up this natural flavoring to fill big shoes. We admit that this take on the beloved citrus fruit hits the mark, and we didn't need to add more syrup for the flavor to hit. 

Unlike the Homestyle Lemonade, we found Lemonbubly to embrace the tartness and not try to overpower the seltzer with artificial sweeteners. No, it's not as refreshing as squeezing a fresh-cut wedge, but it's surprisingly close. We did taste a little extra something that rounded out the taste, a touch of sweetness, or was it vanilla? Maybe it's just us (we've been trying too many of these). We think the mild yet satisfying flavor could be a big win for La Croix lovers.

Overall, it's bright and has the tang we wanted, even if it's not an official replacement. The mini bottle would make a great addition to a travel bag for even still water that could use a little boost. Again, SodaStream nailed the aroma with citrus that couldn't be mistaken for any other fruit. We will definitely buy this one again.

3. Dr. Pete

We love a complex soda. The truth behind the blend of secret flavors in a Dr. Pepper is that the combination is a well-kept trade secret. The brand-name drink is said to be a total of 23 flavors like vanilla, hints of cherry, perhaps some clove, pepper, amaretto, and black licorice (via Dr. Pepper Museum). SodaStream's off-brand Dr. Pete is a welcome surprise.

The SodaStream Dr. Pete is a concentrated syrup loaded with flavors and not bogged down with teeth-grinding sugar. This concoction goes heavy on the notes of vanilla and cherry, which is delicious enough to have us reaching for seconds but lacks the punch of the real deal. Still, we appreciated the subtle zing through the finish, where other SodaStream sodas like the root beer felt lacking. Half of our taste testers preferred Dr. Pete's to the root beer for holding up its expectation to be spicy, fruity, and a hint of something like pepper that has this sparking nonalcoholic drink clawing its way toward complexity. Would we recommend this as one of the best flavors? Absolutely.

2. Cherrybubly Drops

We didn't have high hopes for the Cherrybubly flavor after most of the OG natural essences failed to impress our taste buds. Fortunately, the burst of what we've come to expect from cherry-flavored treats (that don't often taste like the real thing) is exactly what we wanted. Cherrybubly outshines other SodaStream flavors by leaning on the taste of the fruit without abandoning nostalgic traditional artificial flavors that make our summer snow cone the best way to beat the heat. Plus, we found the flavor doesn't turn bitter the longer it sits or lose its appeal halfway through the glass (we're looking at you, blackberry). The cherry essence lingers on the palate for all the right reasons.

Since we decided to be thorough for this flavor's taste test (and highly subjective), we also bit into a chocolate-covered cherry to compare the effect. The chocolate-covered fruit tasted quite similar to the bottled flavor. So, anyone looking for a tart cherry experience should look elsewhere. SodaStream has delivered a bright flavor for your sparkling water, similar to a maraschino cherry. We appreciate the ability to temper the flavor. The recommended ratio provides fruit flavor at the first sip without overpowering the fact that you're still drinking sparkling water.

1. Pink Grapefruit Zero Calorie

Sometimes we grapple with which flavor shines brighter, or in the case of the best grocery store hot sauces, which might be the true pinnacle of excellence. For our ranking of the best SodaStream flavors, the Pink Grapefruit Zero Calorie is our clear winner. So, what makes this pink grapefruit flavor stand out, especially with another grapefruit-inspired flavor on the list?

The formula includes grapefruit juice concentrate, making this sparkling water flavoring taste like real, fresh grapefruit. One taste tester described the flavor as similar to the oven-baked citrus fruit with sugar on top, a real throwback. Even if you've never tasted baked grapefruit, the SodaStream Pink Grapefruit will delight your tastebuds. The drink lingers on the tongue with a bit of tang from the citric acid and doesn't leave remnants of yuck from the sugar substitutes.

Plus, it turned out to be a total crowd pleaser. Every taste tester agreed this mix lacks any artificial bite and the bubbles complement the fruit — instead of competing (sorry, Homestyle Lemonade). We love that pink grapefruit has some bite at the back of the throat without a heavy bitterness. It also doesn't skimp with its burst of flavor. Does this drink mix also contain sucralose and stevia? Yes, it does. But, everything in moderation, including moderation.