Carbonation rig, because bubbles are better

At-home carbonation rig

Why a rig?

The purpose of a carbonation rig is that it allows you to not only carbonate water cheaper than any other method, it allows you to carbonate any liquid you’re interested in with varying success based on how the beverages are prepared, which we’ll get into later.


  • CO2 tank
    • If buying a used tank, make sure the hydrostatic testing is valid (just like for a scuba diving tank), but you can mitigate this a little if the place you go to fill swaps tanks
    • Size doesn’t matter, there’s either no increase in cost to fill a large tank, or in some cases the price per lb goes down with increased tank size. I’ve used 5lb to 25lb systems in people’s houses.
    • You can sometimes find a good deal on tanks (sometimes including a regulator!) on Craigslist or Ebay. Tanks have to be shipped empty however. Aquarium, home kegerator, etc are all find to repurpose.
  • Regulator
  • Ball style quick connect
  • Carbonator cap
  • Hosing
  • Clamps
  • Empty plastic soda bottles


Purchase things via Craigslist, local Homebrew Store, and/or Amazon.

Connect everything you purchased (tank -> regulator -> clamped hosing -> ball valve || when carbonating screw cap onto bottle and connect to quick release)

Tips for getting good carbonation

  • Set the PSI based on your own preferences; s
  • Temperature affects carbonation. The colder the liquid, the better it will absorb the CO2
  • Don’t overfill the container – you need space for the air your pushing in
  • You don’t want to have excess air in the container; you can take care of this by squeezing the plastic bottle to push the liquid up to the top before sealing it, removing all air
  • Shaking can also help CO2 absorbsion and is best done before disconnecting from the clamp as the environment is as CO2 rich as it will get – if you are doing this with something other than water, let the beverage rest after this so it doesn’t shoot out like a shaken soda bottle
  • If you are carbonating fruit juices, some will need to be clarified to get strong carbonation
  • You can use this to carbonate cocktails, but keep a few things in mind to help perfect your drink
    • CO2 adds a taste (acidic) which you’ll need to correct for
    • If you substitute force carbonating for the use of soda water, you’ll need to pre-dilute your drink prior to carbonating (also holds true for other beverages)
  • You can use a scale to test out absorption of CO2 in your beverage

This is pretty interesting to me. Got any links to all-in-one carbonators? I used to attend events at a private residence who had some kind of soda making machine… was delicious.

I don’t really have any all in one carbonators like a SodaStream I can recommend for a couple of reasons:

  1. I have limited experience using them at other people’s houses
  2. The cost to operate is significantly higher

Now since I haven’t used them enough I can’t say the rest of this is actually correct but I do have a few additional reasons (that may not be totally correct). With my rig I can carbonate non-water products and I can vary (dramatically) the volume of liquid I am carbonating, including the volume of the container itself. Both of these are pretty important for my use case.