anyone use a modded/retrofitted Sodastream?

I’m crazy about sparkling water, so I was very happy 15 years ago to discover the Sodastream machine. But Sodastream has discontinued the large (130-liter) carbon dioxide canisters, and all the central Chicago Bed Bath & Beyond locations have closed besides.

Looks like there are three basic modding approaches: one is to put an adapter with Sodastream’s proprietary valve threads on top of a 24-ounce paintball canister providing CO2. The second is a “hacked” hose allowing a big 5- or 10-lb CO2 tank to be hooked up to the Sodastream machine. The third is a similar hose allowing user refill of empty Sodastream tanks from commercial CO2 tanks.

Anyone have experience with, or reasons to prefer, one of these approaches?

I’ve been using Sodastream for six years. I’ve never once bought one of their CO2 canisters, because I decided at the outset that I didn’t want to be ripped off.

I did the paintball tank thing for the first three years or so. I had three tanks; when two were empty, I’d hook up the last one and take the empties to Sports Authority to have them filled. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was a few dollars to fill a tank, compared to $30 for the same size tank from Sodastream.

Shortly before SA went out of business, one day I went in to have my tanks filled and was informed they had a new policy - since their CO2 was not “food grade,” they would no longer fill my tanks. (Bullshit, of course, CO2 is CO2). Since they knew me, I couldn’t suddenly say I was a paintball player. I started going to Dick’s, but half the time they would be out of CO2. One time I went to three different Dick’s in the metro area, and ALL of them were out! So I decided to look into other options.

I bought a Freedom One mod from CO2Doctor (I just tried to find a link, but apparently they are now defunct?) and a 10 lb CO2 tank. I wish I would’ve done it a lot sooner. I drink a LOT of soda, and the tank lasts me about three months. It would probably last a normal person 6 months to a year. And it costs $20 to trade in for a new one at a local brewing supply shop.

I spent an extra $20 or $30 on the mod with a little gauge on it. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done that, because I never look at the gauge. I know the tank is getting low when the pressure starts to drop; when that happens, I know I’ve got a few days left before it needs to be traded in.

Oh yeah, another plus for the 10 lb CO2 tank:

With the paintball tanks, I remember I usually had to wait around at the store for 15 or 20 minutes or more while the tanks were being refilled. With the 10 lb tank, I take it in, they exchange it, and I’m usually out the door within two minutes.

I think it has more to do with the equipment used to compress, transport and deliver it. “food grade” is supposed to be free of certain potential contaminants (oils, etc.) which don’t matter for CO2 used for industrial purposes.

I went the full addict route and bought a 10lb CO2 tank, a regulator, some hose, and a ball lock disconnect. Add a couple ball lock caps threaded to fit 2 liter bottles and I can make soda (or in my case, sparkling water) in tremendous volumes.

Something like this.