The Ninja Thirsti Drink System will put an end to your seltzer orders — and it's eco-friendly

The Ninja Thirsti is "soda-rn" cute 🥤

Ninja Thirsti Drinks system on pink bubbled background
(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)
Real Homes Verdict

For those who are seltzer fanatics, as in you’re the first one to run out and try the new watermelon prickly pear flavor as soon as you hear about it on TikTok, the Thirsti Drink System is a game changer. It takes you from a simple seltzer connoisseur to a craft seltzer artist. You’ll have the power to create any combination of flavors you can dream of from the 20 flavors in the Ninja system, and you can determine your level of bubbles and boldness.

Reasons to buy
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    Easy setup

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    Incredibly easy to use

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    Narrow footprint

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    20 sugar-free flavors

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    Customizable flavors

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    Three carbonation settings + still

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    Under $200 pricepoint

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    Disperses 6 oz. to 24 oz. sizes

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    Shelf for 6 oz. cups to avoid spills

Reasons to avoid
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    Many of the flavors contain artificial sweeteners

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    Requires Ninja-specific refills

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    Louder than you might expect

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Ninja Thirsti: Quick Menu

Before using the Ninja Thirsti drink system, I used to love buying syrups and flavors and getting creative with seltzer combinations at home. I’d whip one up with my lunch and then, inevitably, I’d forget I opened the plastic bottle of sparkling water in the fridge and it would go flat. 

Thankfully, this small kitchen appliance is the answer to my graveyard of flat sparkling water bottles. And it can help me be more eco-friendly at home. How? This clever gadget takes the carbonation machines you know and love and uplevels them. It makes you the bartending king of the seltzers. With the touch of just a few buttons, you’re adjusting carbonation levels, mixing and matching flavors, and deciding when to go intense with your mango or a little bit lighter with your raspberry. 

What I thought of the Ninja Thirsti

I’ve found it super easy to use, so easy that I’ve been making at least one seltzer a day ever since unboxing this a few weeks ago. And it’s fun! It takes a little longer than you’d anticipate to make each 6-ounce splash of seltzer, and it’s definitely louder than I expected, but from the blue indicator that tells you the water is cold to the lights to the machine’s sound, which I’d call rocketship-adjacent, it’s an exciting process. 

This is the niche, fun kitchen counter gadget that all your friends will use when they come over. Basically, the drink system will save you a lot of money on seltzers while keeping a lot of aluminum and plastic out of landfills. And, rumor has it, they’re even fantastic in cocktails. It’s like the fountain of youth seltzer, right in your kitchen.

Testing the Ninja Thirsti

Heather Bien, freelance writer headshot
Heather Bien

I'm Heather and I tested the Ninja Thirsti Drinks System for Real Homes. I’d never tried an at-home seltzer machine before, so I went into this without any expectations at all. However, I like to consider myself a beverage barista. You’ll often find me mixing up syrups for my lattes or trying out new cocktail combinations, so I was all over the idea of being able to customize my seltzer down to the number of bubbles, strength, and combination of flavors.

Important stuff

  • Model name: Ninja® Thirsti™ Drink System
  • Dimensions (in.): H16 x W8.76 x L13.9
  • Reservoir capacity: 48 fl. oz.
  • Weight of machine: 8.5 lbs.
  • Water capacity: 48 fl. oz.
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Cord length: 31 in.
  • Wattage: 55 W

Setting up the Ninja Thirsti

Ninja Thirsti Drinks System with two flavor drop packages

(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)

Ninja has a talent for making its products incredibly easy to set up, and the brand has hit another home run with its Thirsti Drink System. This pal comes covered in stickers, which are, thankfully, easy to remove, and it tells you exactly the steps to take and which part does what.

Here’s what the setup looks like. The box is efficiently packed, with the machine, CO2 canister, and case for the flavor drops fitting snuggly in there together. There wasn't excessive packaging, which is always a plus. After you unpack it, there’s no assembly required. Screw the 60-liter CO2 canister in, then fill your 48-ounce water reservoir. You’ll run a cleaning cycle with 12 ounces of still water, then you’re good to start bubbling. Your initial setup should make up to 100 12-ounce drinks.

Making drinks using the Ninja Thirsti

Close-up of Ninja Thirsti drops in flavor carriage

(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)

Let’s talk about the delicious beverages you’re going to create. While there are up to 20 flavors available, your initial system comes with eight. Don’t worry though, that’s plenty to work with. 

Back to the machine, fill your water reservoir with cold water or add ice. There’s a clever blue indicator on the bottom of the reservoir that lets you know that the water is cold enough. Apparently, cold water is better for carbonation — who knew?! I’m keeping my reservoir filled up in the fridge at all times now so it’s always perfectly chilly.

When you’re ready to make a drink, you’ll insert one or two of the flavor drops into the flavor cartridge. The top on these little pods flips all the way back and you push them in upside down (no, they’re not going to spill!). It will click when they’re installed correctly, and you’ll raise the flavor carriage back up.

Then you’re onto the thrilling part. First, you’ll select your bubble level. You can choose still, low, medium, or high bubbles. Medium is a classic seltzer, but I tend to go high. If some bubbles are good, more are better, right? You’ll then choose the size. I love the 6-ounce size. It’s just enough for a shot of flavor in my afternoon. Next, choose your level of flavor intensity. One is a lighter touch of flavor, while two is more bold. I usually go with two, though I’ve switched it up with one on strawberry, two on mango, or whatever feels right that day.

Lastly, press the start button, and you’re in action. As I mentioned before, the machine is loud. It’s not bad loud, but you may wonder if it’s working correctly the first time. It is, and it’s going to churn out a perfectly flavored seltzer. One of the quirks you’ll notice is that the water drops down suddenly and dramatically as it dispenses each 6 ounce-cup of liquid. I’m not sure if that was purposeful from Ninja, but I love it. It’s a “woah, there it goes!” moment. 

Once the lights go out and the machine chimes, it’s time to sip! I ended up down a rabbit hole of drink ideas earlier, and I may try the spicy strawberry lemonade or the orange creamsicle that I found on Ninja’s YouTube channel next.

Cleaning the Ninja Thirsti

I haven’t noticed that the Ninja Thirsti Drink System gets particularly dirty but, of course, it does need to be cleaned regularly. The drip tray and drip tray bucket are both safe to wash in the top rack of your dishwasher, though I also wipe them down after every use. 

The water reservoir can be cleaned with warm soapy water, though keep that one out of the dishwasher. Additionally, the flavor funnel and flavor carriage — the two areas I thought saw the most residue — should also be cleaned. The flavor funnel can be removed and cleaned with warm soap and water, while the carriage can be wiped with a damp microfiber cleaning cloth monthly. 

When it’s time for a deep cleaning, which should happen once a month, combine 12 ounces of water and 12 ounces ofwhite vinegar in the water reservoir. Run a clean cycle by pressing the bubble and size buttons at the same time, for three seconds. Run through a second time, then rinse the reservoir, and you’re done! 

Is the Ninja Thirsti right for you?

Ninja® Thirsti™ Drink System on white marble worktop

(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)

Whether the Ninja Thirsti Drink System is worth it for you is going to depend on your level of seltzer fandom. If you’re drinking a 12-pack of seltzer every week, stop what you’re doing and buy the Thirsti. Not only will it save you money, but it’ll let you tailor your beverage experience exactly to your preferences. 

If you’re only an occasional drinker of sparkling water, it’s going to depend on whether you can devote the counter space to it. The machine is narrow, but it’s tall, so it may not easily stow away in a cabinet. You need to decide if it’s going to earn its keep as a permanent resident of the countertop. Maybe this is what you need to take that seltzer relationship to the next level.

Good to know

You’ll find a super straightforward owner’s guide that will walk you through how to set up your machine, how to clean it before and after use, and how to make various seltzer drinks. 

The Ninja Thirsti Drink System comes with a one-year warranty.

Where to buy the Ninja Thirsti

This machine is available to pre-order directly from Ninja for $179.99. Additional CO2 cartridges can be purchased for $59.99 for two (will be $73.98 after promotion).

Where to buy the Ninja Thirsti flavor drops

Ninja Thirsti system flavor drops

(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)

For $6.99 a pop, you have a world of flavor at your fingertips with the cute water drop pods, and they’re all free from sugar. You can pick up the Splash Flavor Water Drops for a classic seltzer with no color and no sweeteners (my personal favorite, and likely the go-to for La Croix fans), the Vitamin Flavor Water Drops for days when you need a little boost, the Hydrate Flavor Water Drops for your sweet tooth (and to replace lost electrolytes after a sweaty gym sesh), or the Energy Flavor Water Drops for the equivalent of a fruity, bubbly cup of black tea (meaning 50 milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces…not literal tea).

How we tested the Ninja Thirsti

Heather Bien inserting a Ninja Thirsti flavor drops into the flavor carriage

(Image credit: Future / Heather Bien)

The Ninja Thirsti Drink System was sent to me by Ninja, and I tested it out daily for several weeks before writing this review, trying multiple combinations of flavors and carbonation levels. So far, it’s still earned a spot on my countertop, but I’ll update this if that changes.

Here are a few things I like to look out for when testing kitchen appliances:

Operation: How easy is it to use the machine? Are the prompts/buttons legible? If the machine makes a sound, is it clear to understand what is happening?

The actual beverage: Does it live up to its store-bought counterparts? Is it an appropriate volume for the resulting beverage? What’s the taste like?

Water tank: When looking at the water tank, I assess whether it’s easy to fill and, most importantly, if it's easy to remove (can it be removed at all?) and whether it’s easy to clean.

Cleaning: How easy is it to provide maintenance for the machine? This may involve anything from daily to deeper cleans.

Functionality of features: Here I may look at any standout features. In this case, the ability to customize the flavors and carbonation was definitely worth noting.

Heather Bien
Freelance writer

Heather is a lifestyle content creator and writer who grew up in Richmond, VA, and went on to the University of Virginia, where she studied Art History and Architectural History. She and her husband, Adam, split their time between their condo in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, DC, and their cottage on the Rappahannock River near Urbanna, VA. She loves good food, frequent travel, and a homemade latte.