2024 / 04 / 22

N2O Canister VS CO2 Cylinder – What Is Different?

Both n2o canister and co2 cylinder are used for culinary purposes but they are completely different culinary purposes with their different properties. Today, this post will introduce you what is the difference between an N2O canister and a CO2 cylinder.

The method of using an N2O canister or a CO2 cylinder is no different. You just simply inject gas into a liquid. The real difference lies in the actual gas that you are using. Here is the difference between an N2O canister and a CO2 cylinder.

The gas in the cylinder and the materials of the cylinder are different.

The N2O canister usually is a steel cylinder filled with N2O. However, the CO2 cylinder is an aluminum cylinder filled with CO2.

co2 charger

The tools are different for using an N2O canister or CO2 cylinder.

As for the N2O canister, you usually combine it with cream whippers to use N2O chargers. As for the CO2 cylinder, you usually combine it with a soda machine to use CO2 chargers.

CO2 in the CO2 cylinder is more soluble in water than N2O in the N2O canister

Because of this, items made with a cream whipper do not have fizz whereas carbonated beverages do. 

The reaction that occurs when CO2 and water are combined should be explained first. When CO2 and water interact, a new chemical is created as a result of the reaction. CO2 and H2O combine to form H2CO3, often known as carbonic acid. This produces the acidic flavor found in beverages like carbonated water. Now picture this in whipped cream. It tastes awful. Since carbonic acid has a pH between 3 and 4, it is unmistakably detectable in food. Why does N2O not behave similarly? A lot more stable than CO2, N2O does not react with water. As a result, the acidity of the product remains unchanged. Furthermore, the bubble structure of CO2 is much larger than that of N2O. The process of forcing carbonation—think of the bubbles in soda—entails applying pressure to a liquid. When these enormous chunky bubbles are on the tongue, they can be felt. Beer and champagne, which are naturally carbonated drinks, can sometimes have finer bubble structures, but they cannot compare to N2O. N2O produces bubbles that are so tiny that they often give the liquid a creamy feel. It functions so effectively in things like whipped cream because of this. Nitro-brewed coffee or Nitro milk stout are two excellent examples of N2O-containing liquids. These nitro-infused drinks will have a creamy head on top and it will be tough to find a single bubble.


CO2 in the CO2 canister is acidic but N2O in the N2O cylinder is neutral.

Seltzer tastes very different from the water it was made from, and fizzy drinks’ tanginess is caused by acidity. Nitrous can be used to flavor drinks, savories, and desserts because it adds no flavor to everything that it passes through. 

N2o will dissolve in fat when held under pressure, which is why liquids with a fat content of roughly 27% may easily be whipped using a whipped cream charger. This could be fat inside whipping or double cream, or for some recipes, the mixing of another type of fat (usually butter).

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