Sparkling Water vs. Seltzer vs. Club Soda vs. Tonic Water: What's the Difference?

Written by Abigail Jolly
February 14, 2024 | Reading time 11 minutes

More and more people are looking to improve their health by paying attention to what they consume, down to the drinks they have. Carbonated water has become a go-to alternative to soda because it's healthier and still satisfies that craving for something fizzy. The market has become saturated with all different types of carbonated water though, so you might be wondering what makes each kind unique.

What is the Difference Between Specific Types of Carbonated Water?

club soda vs soda water

There are many differences between the kinds of carbonated water on the market today, the main difference lies between natural ingredients vs added ingredients. Some bubbly beverages are naturally carbonated from springs or simply infused with carbon dioxide, whereas others have minerals and artificial ingredients added during the carbonation process.

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What are the Various Types of Carbonated Water?

You'd think that if water is bubbly, then it must just be carbonated water. However, this is not the case whatsoever. The carbonated beverage industry is saturated with competitive bubbly drinks that fall under their own categories entirely. Some types of carbonated water you may find at the store are:

  • Sparkling Water
  • Club Soda
  • Seltzer or Soda Water
  • Tonic

When you're shopping at the store, it might be confusing to pick the one that best fits your needs so let's explore each one of them.

What Are the Differences Between Seltzer, Sparkling Mineral Water, Club Soda, and Tonic?

Seltzer or Soda Water

The simplest form of carbonated water is seltzer, which is just carbonation added to water. Once any flavoring, additive, or alteration is made to the carbonated water, it can no longer be classified as a plain seltzer. Many also refer to seltzer water as soda water or plain sparkling water. These terms are all interchangeable as at the end of the day, they are simply filtered water forced with carbon dioxide.

Sparkling Mineral Water

Unlike seltzer water, sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated and sourced from underground springs. This type of water has a unique taste because it absorbs minerals as it bubbles up from the ground. 

Club Soda

Club soda is made bubbly by infused carbon dioxide and added minerals, such as potassium sulfate and sodium chloride. This beverage provides a mild salty taste, which makes it perfect for adding to alcoholic drinks.

Tonic Water

Tonic water is made from carbonated water that has been sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar along with added quinine. Its distinct flavor, often described as bitter and medicinal, makes it a popular mixer for cocktails such as gin and tonics. Out of these provided carbonated beverages, tonic water contains the highest form of added ingredients and is not recommended to drink straight.

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What are the Benefits of Drinking Carbonated Water?

Carbonated water is much healthier than sugary sodas because it doesn't contain any calories or added sugars that can lead to weight gain and other health problems. It is also hydrating, just like regular water, so you can still get your daily recommended intake while having some fun fizz at the same time! Plus, studies have shown that carbonated water can help reduce acid reflux symptoms by neutralizing stomach acids. This type of beverage may also help cleanse your digestive system due to its bubbly qualities, which can help stimulate digestion.

Soda water, as we've learned, is simply plain, filtered water with added carbon dioxide gas, which gives it a sparkling appearance, bubbly feel, and slightly acidic taste. It doesn't contain any additional minerals or flavors, nor does it have any added sodium. That being said, soda water, or sparkling water/ seltzer water, is the healthiest carbonated water option because of its lack of sodium and other additives.

Club soda and tonic water, on the other hand, are usually carbonated with minerals such as potassium bicarbonate and a few flavorings. The additional minerals give club soda its distinctive taste, and quinine the same for tonic water, but also make them higher in sodium than soda water.

So if you're looking for a healthy beverage with no added flavorings or sodium, soda water or sparkling water is the way to go! However, if you want a drink that has some minerals and a little bit of flavor, club soda may be your best bet. Ultimately, it really comes down to personal taste. What's good for one person may not be so good for another!

Try making sparkling water at home with a soda maker! Where affordability and deliciousness are easily attainable.

Related Article: What Are the Benefits of Drinking Sparkling Water?

How is Carbonated Water Made?

soda water

Seltzer, or soda water, is made by carbonating filtered water with added carbon dioxide gas. This process involves using a device to inject the gas into the water and to create bubbles of CO2 that dissolve in the liquid. Many sparkling water enthusiasts use an at-home soda machine and refill their CO2 canisters with an online CO2 exchange program.

Club soda is similarly created, except mineral salts are added to give it an additional taste and flavor profile. These minerals can include potassium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate, disodium phosphate, or other natural flavors depending on the manufacturer's specific recipe. The addition of these minerals also increases the sodium content in club soda compared to seltzer or soda water. So if you're looking for a more health-conscious option, make sure you choose one that has no added salt or flavors!

Tonic water is made differently than seltzer or club soda. It is carbonated with added quinine, which gives it a much stronger flavor compared to other types of carbonated water. This beverage also contains high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, so make sure to check the label before you purchase it if you're looking for an option that's lower in sugar content.

Sparkling mineral water is made by tapping or pumping naturally carbonated water that is sourced from underground springs. This type of beverage doesn't contain any added ingredients, but it does have minerals that are absorbed into the water as it bubbles up from the ground. It's a great option for those looking for an all-natural way to enjoy their bubbly drinks!

Further Read: How to Make Sparkling Water at Home

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Soda Water, Club Soda, Tonic Water, and Sparkling Mineral Water?

Drinking seltzer or soda water, club soda, tonic water, and sparkling water all offer different benefits as they all have very different ingredients; either natural or added.

Health Benefits of Soda Water

Soda water/seltzer water is commonly mistaken as an unhealthy beverage. There have been myths about whether CO2 causes tooth decay, or if consuming regular bubbles leads to a high probability of gas and bloating. These false accusations have been debunked many times and sparkling water has been found to actually have great health benefits! From aiding migraines to minimizing bloating to reducing bad breath, sparkling water, or soda water, can be a powerhouse in the aid of natural bodily occurrences. It can also be used to help soothe digestive woes such as heartburn and indigestion due to its neutralizing effect on stomach acids. Not to mention it is the healthiest carbonated beverage on the market due to its lack of added sugars or sodium and is lower in calories than other carbonated beverages like soft drinks.

Related Read: Why Do People Drink Sparkling Water?

Health Benefits of Club Soda

Club soda has the same health benefits as soda water but with the added benefit of minerals which can help provide additional beneficial electrolytes for your body! If you are mineral deficient, consider adding club soda to your diet as an extra boost for your daily minerals.

Health Benefits of Tonic Water

Tonic water is slightly sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar and flavored with quinine to give it a slightly bitter taste. We would not say necessarily that tonic water is healthy to consume in large doses or regularly, however, Quinine is known for its medicinal properties. Quinine has been known to reduce fever, treat malaria, and even aid in leg cramps, making it the most healthy ingredient found in tonic water, not including water of course.

Health Benefits of Sparkling Mineral Water

Sparkling mineral water is the most natural out of all the carbonated beverages. Just because it is natural though, doesn't mean you will enjoy the taste. Due to its high doses of natural bubbly minerals found in underground springs, many have found sparkling mineral water to be a little too bitter for their liking. Whereas others rave about its unique flavor and drink it regularly. If you are looking for a boost of natural minerals, consider sparkling mineral water for its mineral dense health benefits.

Overall, each type of carbonated beverage offers different benefits that can help contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Whether you choose soda water, club soda, tonic water, or sparkling mineral water - it's important to read the labels carefully and choose one that suits your individual needs.

How to Make Your Own Carbonated Water at Home

club soda vs soda water

Making your own carbonated water at home is easier than you might think, with so many sparkling water or soda makers available in the market today! All you'll need is your very own soda maker, CO2 canisters, and a willing taste tester to drink all the bubbly beverages your heart desires! Whether your soda maker takes 60L Threaded Canisters or 60L Quick Connect Canisters, Soda Sense Refill Club has got you covered!

Once you have your soda maker and CO2 canisters, insert the CO2 canister according to the manufacturer's instructions. Fill the accompanying water bottle with water, place it in the machine, and activate the carbonation. The level of carbonation is typically adjustable, allowing you to control the fizziness of your water. Wait for a few moments and voila - you’ve got your homemade sparkling water.

This simple process makes it easy to enjoy freshly-carbonated water without having to buy expensive bottles in the store. It also allows you to enjoy fresh, fizzy water whenever you want without having to worry about plastic waste from store-bought bottles. Plus, it's a great way to save money while still getting your fizzy fix!

We have compiled a list of The Best Sparkling Water or Soda Makers available online so be sure to check that out.

Is it Safe to Drink Seltzer, Sparkling Mineral Water, Tonic Water, or Club Soda Everyday?

Yes, it is safe to drink seltzer, sparkling mineral water, tonic water or club soda everyday. If you opt to buy any of these carbonated water, you might want to check the labels carefully though so that you know what ingredients have been added and ensure that you choose one with no added sugars, sodium, or excessive acidic flavoring if possible. If you are more inclined towards sugary carbonated drinks such as soda pop but are looking to switch to a healthier option and to regularly stay hydrated, then any of these carbonated drinks will do the job!

However, seltzer or sparkling water may do the best job in hydration! It can hydrate you just as good as regular water. We have discussed this in-depth in our article "Does Sparkling Water Hydrate You?"

What Are the Other Uses of Seltzer and Sparkling Water?

club soda vs soda water

Apart from being a tasty and healthful beverage, sparkling water also has many other uses. The carbonation makes it perfect for cleaning as the bubbles help to lift dirt away from surfaces. It's perfect for cleaning glassware or hard-to-reach places that need a little extra scrubbing power.

Sparkling water can also be used to add some pizzazz to your cooking! Try using it in place of regular water when poaching fish or making risotto or mashed potatoes – the bubble effect will give them an extra light and fluffy texture. You can even use it instead of beer in recipes like beer battered fried fish for a lighter version of this classic dish!

Finally, you can also use sparkling water to create amazing cocktails! The bubbles will help mix and blend flavors together for a unique and delicious taste.

Regardless of how you drink it or use it, sparkling water is an incredibly versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in many different ways! It's also calorie-free and adds a fun fizz to your favorite beverages. So why not give it a try today?

What Are the Other Uses of Tonic Water and Club Soda?

Tonic water is often used to add a subtle sweetness and bitter flavor to cocktails such a Gin & Tonic. Its quinine content also makes it a popular choice for those looking to add a medicinal boost to their drinks.

Club soda on the other hand tends not to have any added flavors or sweeteners and can be used in combination with other ingredients such as fruit juices or syrups to create unique flavorful combinations-- the classic Tom Collins is a great example! It is also great for adding fizz and bubbles to non-alcoholic drinks like virgin mojitos!

So whether you want an extra kick of flavor in your cocktail or want to add a bit of fizz to your mocktails, tonic water or club soda are both excellent choices that will give you the desired results.

Make Your Own Carbonated Water Today!

Whether you prefer soda water, club soda, tonic water, or sparkling mineral water - each one offers different benefits that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Just remember to read labels carefully so you can choose the right type of beverage for your individual needs if you choose to buy from the store. But why buy when you can make your own?

Our Soda Maker can be purchased alongside 1, 2 or 3 CO2 canisters. It's easy to use and very affordable. You can also sign-up for our CO2 Refill Club so you can have an uninterrupted bubbly experience.

So why not try making your own soda water, club soda, tonic water or sparkling water today? With a Soda Sensei machine, you'll never have to worry about buying from the store again.

Plus you get all the benefits that come with homemade drinks- like full control over ingredients and additives, lower sugar intake, and more!

Try creating something new and exciting for yourself today.

Happy bubbling! :)

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