What is Soma Water?

Published on: Jan 6, 2017

Made from high quality, shatter-resistant glass, fitted with an easy-grip protective sleeve, and available in four different colors, the 17oz Soma promises to provide you with “simple, healthy hydration, everywhere.”

In addition to their bottle, Soma manufactures a complete line of healthy and visually attractive water-related products, including filters, carafes, and pitchers. And to help provide healthy water to others around the globe, Soma donates a portion of every filter sale to charity: water.

While Soma seems to manufacturer aesthetically pleasing, sustainable products, does this mean they’ll provide better water? In the end, will they provide more value than the competition?

That’s what you’re here to find out, which we’ll help you accomplish. To begin, let’s take a look at their product lineup.

How Does Soma’s lineup of five products work?

The Soma Glass Water Bottle

Each Soma Water Bottle is crafted from BPA-free borosilicate glass, with a soft silicone sleeve on the outside (available in White, Grey, Mint, and Eggplant colors) that helps prevent slippage. On top, you’ll find a leak-proof lid made from natural bamboo.

Despite its glass construction, Soma claims their water bottle is lightweight and durable, can hold 17 ounces (dimensions: 9.1” H x 2.6” D), and features a smooth mouth design for comfortable drinking.

The company recommends hand washing your bottle before using it for the first time, which can be accomplished using warm, soapy water. For subsequent washings, the bottle is top-rack dishwasher safe, while the cap must always be hand-washed.

Soma’s bottle promises to fit in most cup holders, but it does not come with a water filter (more soon).

The Soma BottleThe Soma Bottle is constructed from BPA-free borosilicate glass and features a leak-proof bamboo lid. Image credit: Soma

Soma 6-Cup & 10-Cup Pitchers

Instead of glass like their Bottle, Soma’s 6-Cup (48 oz) and 10-Cup (80 oz) Pitchers are constructed of shatterproof BPA-free plastic, with handles crafted from sustainably harvested white oak and a compact, fridge-friendly size. Dimensions:

  • 6-Cup Pitcher: 4.5” w x 9.4” h x 9” d
  • 10-Cup Pitcher: 6” w x 10.5” h x 9” d

Inside Soma’s Pitcher sits a white conical reservoir, which holds their proprietary filter (more about this in a second). The reservoir and lid can be placed on the top rack of your dishwasher, although the pitcher should be hand-washed with a soft sponge.

Alternately, you can clean the pitcher using baking soda and vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.

While you’re washing the pitcher, make sure avoid getting the handle wet, which should be oiled with mineral oil once per month.

Soma 10 Cup PitcherHere, you can see Soma’s conical reservoir sitting inside their Pitcher, with its sustainably harvested white oak handle. Image credit: Soma

Soma’s Glass Carafe

At 5.8” w x 10.6” h x 5.8” d, Soma’s Glass Carafe is made from the same shatter-resistant German borosilicate glass as their Bottle, with a 6-cup capacity. Here, you’ll also find the same BPA-free plastic reservoir as the Pitcher, which is held in place by a silicone gasket.

The Carafe’s glass, reservoir, and lid are top-rack dishwasher safe, although you’ll need to remove the filter itself and the silicone ring, which should be washed by hand.

Soma CarafeSoma’s Carafe is also crafted from BPA-free borosilicate glass, with a special silicone gasket around the reservoir to ensure an optimal fit. Image credit: Soma

Soma’s Proprietary Filter

We’ve mentioned the conical reservoir included with the Pitchers and Carafe a couple of times already, which is where Soma’s proprietary ion exchange filter (v2.0) sits. On the outside, this filter features a body made from plant-based sugarcane, as well as an activated coconut carbon shell.

Soma Water FilterEach Soma Filter fits snugly inside their reservoir, which removes mercury, chlorine, zinc, and copper. Image credit: Soma

On top of the reservoir, you’ll find a circular door that automatically opens as soon as water from your faucet touches it. Then, as this water passes through, the filter will effectively remove heavy metals like mercury, along with chlorine, zinc, and copper. It’ll boost the flavor, too!

According to Soma, their filter is NSF Standard 53 and 42 certified and should last approximately 40 gallons before requiring replacement. At about two full Carafes per day, this means each filter should last approximately two months.

Soma tells us that you’ll need to soak your filter for at least 15 minutes and then rinse it with fresh water 2-3 times before inserting into the reservoir.

Note: According to Soma, their new V2 filters may emit a small amount of black water during the first few fills, which is caused by the natural carbon dust. We’re assured that this should clear up with five fills, and won’t affect the safety of your water.

While Soma’s Filters aren’t biodegradable or compostable, its plant-based materials can be recycled at most municipal processing plants in use today. Alternately, you can send your filters back to the company, who will send them to a waste facility that recovers and properly disassembles the product.

Looking for a few tips on how to get started? Here’s a quick two-minute video hosted by Soma’s CEO and co-founder Mike Del Ponte:

How Much Do Soma Products Cost?

Soma’s products are only available in the US and priced as follows:

Glass Water Bottle: $30

The Soma Filter

  • Pay As You Go: $12.99
  • Prepay (6 filters): $60

6-Cup Pitcher

  • With 1 replacement filter: $29
  • With 2 prepaid filters: $79
  • With 12 prepaid filters: $139

10-Cup Pitcher

  • With +1 replacement filter: $39
  • With 6 prepaid filters: $89
  • With 12 prepaid filters: $149

Glass Carafe

  • With +1 replacement filter: $49
  • With 6 prepaid filters: $99
  • With 12 prepaid filters: $159

If you choose to prepay for filters, you’ll receive replacements once every two months. This can be changed or canceled at any time by visiting the Subscriptions section of your profile.

In your profile, you’ll also find a unique referral link that can be shared through email and social media, which can earn you rewards on future purchases.

Soma’s Pitchers and Carafes come with a 60-day refund policy, less S&H. Bottles only come with a 30-day policy and are only eligible if they’re unopened and unused.

If you request a refund and have prepaid filters remaining, they will be refunded at a price of $10 each.

Soma’s Carafe and Filter hardware (the reservoir, not the replaceable filter element) also come with a one-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use.

Soma’s products (excluding the bottle) were available through Amazon at the time of our research, while replacement filters can also be purchased at Target.

Based on these prices, do Soma’s customers feel like they’re getting a solid value? We’ll come back to this important topic shortly, but first, let’s address some of the technical aspects surrounding Soma’s products; specifically, glass and filtration.

What Does Water Filtration Accomplish and Is It Necessary?

Common Types of Water Filter

For the purposes of our discussion, there are four main types of filtration used in in-home systems today:

Ion Exchange (Deionization) – As water percolates through ‘resin beads’ contained in the filter, ions in the water are exchanged with ions in the beads, thereby removing impurities.

While deionization delivers quality close to distilled water, it’s generally not effective at removing uncharged organic molecules, viruses, or bacteria.

Carbon Absorption – Depending on the diameter of its pores, carbon absorption works by trapping dissolved organic and inorganic material as water passes through.

Activated carbon filtration is very common for in-home water filtration and is generally effective at improving taste and smell by removing chemicals and gasses (as well as microorganisms, in some instances). It isn’t, however, effective for removing dissolved solids or heavy metals, or for softening water.

Reverse Osmosis & Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation – Without going into unnecessary detail, reverse osmosis works by pushing water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane, which is filtered as it passes.

On the other hand, UV filters work by passing water through ultraviolet radiation, which deactivates bacteria and viruses. This is great for disinfection, but isn’t especially useful for removing chemicals (and can even be dangerous when interacting with chlorine).

While reverse osmosis and UV systems can decontaminate your water, they’re also very expensive, can cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, and aren’t portable. This is why deionization and carbon filters are most common in portable units like Soma.

But can you expect to experience any real-world benefits from the deionization provided by Soma’s filter?

Are There Any Health Benefits From Drinking Filtered Water?

First, it’s important to point out that most municipalities in the US have robust, highly effective treatment systems in place that ensure clean, healthy drinking water for hundreds of millions of people.

As a result, except for personal preferences like taste and odor, water filtration is largely unnecessary for improved health.

Second, if you’re dead set on purchasing an in-home filter, it’s important to have your water tested beforehand, and then again once your system is in place. Otherwise, there’s no way to know just how effective your filter is—if at all.

Speaking of which, it’s important to point out that the NSF 42 certification for Soma’s Filter only relates to “aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste, odor and particulates).”

The NSF 53 certification relates to “specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether).”

What’s this mean? Unless your tap water contains any of these contaminants in significant amounts, Soma’s filter might not provide a lot of bang for your buck.

Now, let’s move on to Soma’s Bottle.

Soma’s Glass Bottle vs. Other BPA-Free Water Bottles

Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA, is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, which are commonly used in food storage containers, linings inside food cans and bottle caps, and other consumer products.

While the FDA indicates low levels (the amounts generally found in food) of BPA are safe, as it seeps into food or liquid and reaches higher levels, it can lead to negative side effects in the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children, as well as to increased blood pressure.

In response to these findings, most mainstream bottle manufacturers have switched over to BPA-free plastics, as well as stainless steel and glass. In fact, BPA-free bottles are so popular that you’ll probably find several options at just about any local big box retailer, many of which can be found for under $10.

Comparing this to Soma’s $30 glass bottle, have customers found the extra cost provided added value?

Are Soma’s Customers Living Better?

While we didn’t find any online customer feedback specifically for Soma’s Bottle, their Pitchers and Carafe had a combined total of 899 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 3.6 stars.

There, most compliments referenced attractive design, ease of use, and better-tasting water. On the other hand, common complaints related to high price compared to the competition, mold developing around the Carafe’s silicone gasket, and no improvements in water quality.

Similarly, 61 Amazon reviewers had given Soma’s replacement filters an average rating of 3.9 stars. Many seemed to appreciate the improved taste of their water, while others noted that it didn’t remove many contaminants and was priced meaningfully higher than the competition.

Based out of San Francisco, CA, Soma is a B-corporation that got its start through a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $147K.

As such, they claim they’re committed to reducing global impact, using post-consumer waste and recyclable materials, working with responsible supply chain partners, and donating a portion of the sale of every filter to charity: water projects.

The company is headed by CEO and co-founder Mike Del Ponte, who also founded Sparkseed and Conscious Lifestyle.

Are Soma’s Products Worth the Extra Cost?

When researching and writing about new products, our primary goal is to pass along the information and leave the final decision up to you. And it’s no different with Soma’s products.

Based on what we’ve covered here today, though, it doesn’t appear Soma’s deionization filters will provide meaningfully better results than the competition, while priced meaningfully higher. But will you get more value?

We’re consumers too, so we think it all comes down to where you place your value. In other words, if you place a lot of emphasis on pleasing aesthetics and top-quality materials, then Soma’s products seem to come with high marks from customers.

On the other hand, if you’re simply focused on getting the best tasting water (while also filtering out certain heavy metals and other elements) for the least amount of money, local options at big box retailers might serve you better.

Before you go: Tell us about your experience with Soma’s products by writing a review below!

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