Introduction: Sparkling Water at Home

Picture of Sparkling Water at Home

I've recently become sort of … obsessed with carbonated water. It all started with my trip to Germany last year, where carbonated water is nearly as common as regular tap water. But if, like me, you have an addiction to sparkling water, you know how it can quickly become an expensive habit. So I set out to find a cheaper way to make it myself.

Surprisingly, this setup is very easy to build and super cheap to maintain, even if the initial costs are relatively high.

If you buy sparkling water (sometimes even in bulk) from a grocery store or online, you're probably spending nearly $1 per liter. With a SodaStream, using the official means of refilling canisters, you're looking at $0.40 to $0.50 per liter. Using this method, you're looking at about $0.05 to $0.10 per liter.

Not bad at all.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

What you will need for this are all actually pretty common items.

There is some debate over whether CO2 tanks from a machine shop or welding supply shops. The truth is, these tanks and CO2 is no different than what you will find underneath the counter in bars and restaurants.

Also, I purchase the CO2 tank online, thinking I might come out a little better if I could just have a 5lb tank filled on the spot. Turns out, no local places fill tanks on the spot and I ended up surrendering my pretty tank for another at the machine shop. But it wasn't a big deal, really, since it came out to the same price anyway, around $90 for a filled 5lb tank – $70 for the tank deposit (which I didn't pay, since I turned one in) and $20 for the CO2.

The dual-gauge regulator I purchased works perfectly fine, but two things are worth noting. It has a safety release valve that engages at 45psi. If you want extra bubbly water, you may want to look for a different regulator. Also, you don't necessarily need a dual-gauge regulator – it just serves as a visual aid for how much CO2 is remaining in the tank.

Save for the ball lock disconnect, you can easily find the hose clamps, gas line, and other connectors at your local hardware store. However, it's almost positively easier and cheaper to just order this pre-made assembly online. It's difficult to find a rubber gas line under 20' long and for less than $20. This entire assembly plus the quick disconnect is about $15 on Amazon.

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools

You really won't need a lot of tools for this. Just some scissors, a pipe wrench or slot and groove pliers, and a screwdriver. And you should definitely consider some thread seal tape.

Step 3: Attach the Gas Line to the Regulator

Picture of Attach the Gas Line to the Regulator

Begin by attaching the gas line assembly to the regulator. Slide a hose clamp over the open end of the gas line, then slide the hose over the barb on the bottom of the regulator.

If you have trouble fitting this hose over the barb, simply soak the end of the hose in warm water for a minute or two, then try again.

Slide the hose clamp to about 1/8” from the end of the hose and use the screw driver to tighten the hose clamp over the connection.

Step 4: Attach the Regulator to the CO2 Tank

Picture of Attach the Regulator to the CO2 Tank

Next, wrap some thread seal tape around the threads of the CO2 tank valve (in the direction you will be screwing the nut on, unlike what I'm doing in the above photo, because I goofed).

Make sure the included nylon washer is in place, and screw the regulator onto the tank valve. Use pliers or a pipe wrench to snug the nut.

Step 5: Make Some Fizzy Water!

Picture of Make Some Fizzy Water!

And that’s it! Seriously, you’re ready to carbonate some water.

Turn the valve on the CO2 tank and adjust the regulator pressure to approximately 45psi, and twist the pressure valve on the regulator to the on position.

Remove the cap from the bottle of water, squeeze out as much air as possible, and screw on the the ball lock converter cap – or carbonator. Then connect the bottle to the ball lock disconnect. When you do this, the bottle will immediately inflate and harden. Shake the bottle for 60 to 120 seconds and remove from the ball lock disconnect.

Turn off the valve on the CO2 tank, pull the manual pressure release valve to release the remaining pressure in the gas line, and switch the regulator pressure valve back off.

Twist off the cap on the bottle, pour into a glass, and enjoy some refreshing homemade sparkling water!


nrancharan (author)2016-04-01

First of all great instructable. I encountered a problem. My water isn't bubbly? What could be wrong? The carbonator?

ata1anta made it! (author)2016-01-28

The regulators from harbor freight are fine as long as you can attach the CO2 fitting. I, nor the guys at HF, could so I got mine elsewhere.

I built mine over 3 years ago, and should have written the instructable then ;).

I got the 20lb tank and regulator from Craigslist for $70. The steel carbonator cap and ball-lock fitting from Homebrew stuff. Other misc stuff locally. Did a tank exchange (yes they do 20lb exchanges locally). Still going strong.

Recently, caps with internal barbs have become available (see attached pic). These make carbonating the bottle easier and I don't have to worry about contaminating the gas line. Next is to get the liquid out fitting so I don't have to open the bottle to dispense.

Zaacharia (author)2015-09-26

Please do not use glass bottles for carbonating at home - if a plastic bottle fails, it will sting; if a glass bottle fails, it is a grenade. There is no way to monitor the glass for flaws - just do not do it.

razz1969 (author)2015-09-10

Drop some dry ice into a glass of water, let it gas out then taste the water. Surprise!!!!

RigelBlue (author)2015-09-10

I can't wait to get my (older) children in on this one! We buy a ton of sparlking water, and spend waay too much money on it! Fantastic Intructable! Thank you, Thank you!!

rhpraino (author)2015-09-10

Wow! This is a high class instructable. Excellent video; great speaking ability.

caspertek (author)rhpraino2015-09-10


wbogen (author)2015-09-09

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just add a carefully measured/weighed chunk of dry ice to a plastic bottle of water?

rhpraino (author)wbogen2015-09-10

I've tried this, playing around with dry ice. I don't know why but it leaves a bad taste in the water.

caspertek (author)rhpraino2015-09-10

Is that due to the dry ice changing the pH level of the water? That will happen during any carbonation process. Even the setup I'm using changes the taste of the water a bit.

caspertek (author)wbogen2015-09-09

Maybe, but it wouldn't be a sustainable way to do this indefinitely, would it? And it might take longer to make. This will make carbonated water in about a minute.

jlsajfj (author)wbogen2015-09-09

Woah, that would probably work, I dont think anyone has thought of that

ThisIsMyNameOK (author)2015-09-10

Very good Instructable. Clear enough instructions for anyone to follow, even someone as clueless as me. And I like the idea of making a DIY system instead of purchasing the brand name version.

I can see that you did your homework on the CO2 tanks and whether it is safe to use one from a welding shop, so I am willing to believe you on that, though still a bit hesitant. What about the hoses? Do you know what kind of rubber they are, if it is "food safe", so to speak? I'm just really nervous when it comes to anything to do with food and I like to be sure.

caspertek (author)ThisIsMyNameOK2015-09-10

I was a bit nervous myself at first. As for the hose, the assembly I linked to is made specifically for this purpose. The listing calls it "3 feet of 5/16" ID beverage tubing."

bravoechonovember1 (author)2015-09-09


Have you tried this with other liquids?

I have! I've carbonated coffee, juice, tea, and a few other things. Coffee is … interesting. The others are great!

Tanzer26 (author)2015-09-08

The difference between cylinders from your welding supplier and your soft drink supplier, is the soft drink cylinders ate cleaned internally to ensure no oil contamination after manufacturing. They are also filled with CO2 that has been filtered to ensure there is no oil or other contaminant from the compressors used.

michaelthehutt (author)Tanzer262015-09-09

Generally, the cylinders from the welding supply shop are also cleaned internally to ensure there is no oil - CO2 is used a shielding gas when welding. Oil build-up in shield gas + welding = surprise fire.

The easiest way to know for sure is to ask the shop.

caspertek (author)Tanzer262015-09-08

From the reading I've done, any oils left behind would also affect welding. CO2 filtering, I've read, is also not necessary. But in all the reading and research I did, every source contradicted the last. It's about like trying to determine whether therapeutic grade essential oils are safe.

starouzp (author)2015-09-09

great idea, thanks

OptimistSpencer (author)2015-09-09

just so you know, you can get a kit for the hose and a regulator valve at harbor freight for only about $10!

michael.stalenberg (author)2015-09-08

Nice instructable, I know a number of homebrewers who do this as it's pretty easy when you've already got all the CO2 kit for beer.

This will also work better if the water you're carbonating is already cold. CO2 will dissolve into cold water much better than into room temperature water.

amberrayh (author)2015-09-08

Excellent tutorial! Thank you for sharing. This looks like a pretty straight forward project.

caspertek (author)amberrayh2015-09-08


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