Soda Water vs Sparkling Water: What's the Difference?

Written by Abigail Jolly
July 03, 2024 | Reading time 5 minutes

What's the difference between soda water and sparkling water?

Soda water and sparkling water are both made by infusing still water with carbon dioxide by forced pressure, however soda water typically is also infused with bicarbonate soda as well, where sparkling water is not.

Whether you're making a drink, at the grocery store, or simply looking for something bubbly to drink instead of plain water, it can feel confusing differentiating between soda water and sparkling water.

If you've ever wondered which carbonated beverage to buy then you've come to the right place as the difference between soda water and sparkling water is quite simple.

So, is soda water the same as sparkling water?

Yes and no. Any kind of water, whether it be from the well, filtered, unfiltered, even aerated water, you name it, can be considered sparkling water once forced carbonation is added. Sparkling water can also go by similar names such as seltzer water.

However, not all soda water can be considered sparkling water. If soda water has been infused with more than simple CO2, it can no longer be classified as sparkling water.

The best way to determine if your bubbly beverage is considered to be a part of the sparkling water family simply comes down to one thing: additives. If your drink is carbonated but contains added ingredients, then it is no longer just sparkling water.

So for example, tonic water and club soda can no longer be considered sparkling water due to containing a variety of minerals and additives.

This is not to be mistaken with natural ingredients though as even filtered water contains common ingredients like calcium, sodium, and magnesium.

This graphic is a great tool to easily spot the differences in your commonly used carbonated beverages (click here to watch the video instead!):

soda water vs sparkling water

Read more about the differences between Soda Water vs. Club Soda vs. Sparkling Water vs. Tonic Water.

What is in soda water?

Soda water is essentially carbonated water that has been infused with added minerals, primarily bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). This inclusion not only imparts a slight taste difference when compared to plain sparkling water but also makes soda water especially useful in various culinary and beverage applications.

The infusion of bicarbonate of soda into soda water doesn't just contribute to its unique taste; it also enhances its fizziness. This is because when bicarbonate of soda dissolves in water, it interacts with carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce carbonic acid.

This reaction slightly increases the carbonation level, leading to a more effervescent and tangy experience compared to plain sparkling water. This extra fizz makes soda water a preferred choice for many cocktail recipes and beverages seeking a vibrant, refreshing quality.

Does soda water and sparkling water taste the same?

While both soda water and sparkling water share the common trait of being carbonated, their taste profiles can differ due to the presence of additives in soda water. The addition of bicarbonate of soda in soda water not only amplifies its fizziness but can also introduce a subtle alkaline taste.

This makes soda water slightly more robust in flavor compared to sparkling water, which tends to have a more neutral taste, mirroring that of its source water before carbonation.

soda water vs sparkling water

Which is healthier: soda water or sparkling water?

When it comes to health, both soda water and sparkling water are generally considered healthy options, especially compared to sugary soft drinks. Both being zero calories and sugar-free makes them a healthier choice for those looking to maintain or reduce their weight.

However, sparkling water, with its lack of added minerals or bicarbonates, could be slightly healthier for individuals who are concerned about sodium intake or are watching their diet closely.

Ultimately, the healthiest option depends on your dietary needs and personal health goals.

Common uses for soda water

Beyond drinking soda water for hydration purposes, there are a few interesting uses for soda water that you may not be familiar with:

  • Cocktail mixers
  • Cooking
  • Removing stains
  • Cleaning jewelry
  • Watering plants
  • Aiding digestion

Related read: 5 Surprising uses for sparkling water

Difference between soda water vs. carbonated water

soda water vs sparkling water

Carbonated water is a broad term that includes any water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved under pressure, giving it fizz and bubbles. This category encompasses sparkling water, seltzer water, club soda, etc.

Given this definition, soda water is really a subset of carbonated water as there is a forced carbonation even though it's also infused with bicarbonate soda alongside carbon dioxide. So is there a difference? No, not exactly because one cannot exist without the other.

Learn more about the differences between each carbonated beverage.

If you are concerned that consuming carbonated water regularly could be harmful to your health, rest assured this fear has been debunked by many health specialists including Healthline who have actually found potential health benefits to consuming carbonated water.

Can I only buy sparkling water and soda water at the store?

Classic soda water cannot be replicated at home due to many home soda makers only being able to infused water with carbon dioxide and not bicarbonate soda.

But the great news about sparkling water is it can be produced just about anywhere! Due to its simplicity in ingredients, all you'll need to have endless bubbles right at your fingertips are a soda machine and CO2 canisters.

Many brands have great soda machines at an affordable price if you are looking to purchase soda machines nearby. With so many affordable prices, the long winded debate of which is more expensive, canned seltzers or soda makers, is an easy one to answer with confidence.

If you already have a soda machine but are running into issues with keeping full CO2 canisters in the home, join the Soda Sense CO2 refill club to ship and receive canisters right from your home!

Key take aways:

  1. Soda water and sparkling water are virtually the same things in terms of both beverages are filtered water that have been artificially carbonated with CO2, however, soda water is also infused with bicarbonate soda.
  2. Soda water and sparkling water are both healthy alternatives to sugary sodas and only subtly taste different when compared back to back.
  3. You can purchase sparkling spring water, club soda, and sparkling water at the store. However, you can only make sparkling water or carbonated water at home. To do so, all you'll need are a soda machine and CO2 canisters.

Start making your own sparkling water

There are many options when it comes to purchasing these bubbly drinks; one can buy them at stores or get a soda machine for home use that uses CO2 canisters to provide endless bubbles right at your fingertips! Ultimately, all of these fizzy beverages offer something unique depending on what you're looking for in terms of taste and price point – so be sure to look into all of your available options before making a purchase.

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