Bottle sterilizers kills germs and bacteria that get on the bottle nipples, pacifiers, breast pump, and other baby gear--the result of exposure to air, dirt (babies love to drop and throw their bottles/pacifiers), and even contact with your skin.
What's the easiest/safest way to sterilize?
You can always go the route of microwaving or boiling the bottle, but a bottle sterilizer is a much better choice. Not only will it SAFELY sterilize the bottle, but it will often serve a host of other functions: warming up milk, drying out the bottle, and even steaming food!
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We've gathered a list of the top baby bottle sterilizes and warmers on the market. We've combed through hundreds of products, read thousands of reviews, and even tested a few ourselves to find the ones that worked best.
Check out all the Faves below. You'll find there are many good options at great prices, perfect to suit your needs.
Cleans bottles in just 2 minutes, safe for microwave use, compatible with most brands of bottle, inexpensive, protects baby gear from germs, and travel-sized.
VERY hot when just out of the microwave.
Features: Don't bother boiling or steaming your bottles on the stove—this bottle sterilizer makes it easy to use your microwave! All you have to do is add a bit of water into the bottom of the sterilizer, cover, and set the microwave for 2-6 minutes (depending on the watts of your microwave). After the time is up, your bottles and baby accessories are fully sterilized (99.9% of germs eliminated) and ready for use. However, if you don't want to pull out the bottles just yet, the sterilizer will keep everything germ-free for up to 24 hours after use.
This is the quick and easy way to sterilize all of your baby accessories in just a few minutes!
Price: At $17, this is a very well-priced baby sterilizer. Of course, you'll need to own a microwave for it to work, but that shouldn't be an issue for the average household.
Fits a lot of bottles at once, compatible with a wide range of brands, requires minimal upkeep, easy to use, quick sterilization, lightweight, one-touch operation, durable, and reliable.
No reset button; you HAVE to wait for the cycle to finish.
Features: If you want to be 100% certain your baby's bottles, nipples, and your breast pump are clean, set them in this sterilizer, press the button, and let it do its thing. 8 minutes later, everything will be as clean as if you'd just boiled it or run it through the dishwasher.
The bottle sterilizer can hold up to 6 Tommee Tippee bottles, or you can fit an assortment of bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and other equipment. It's a very easy sterilizer to operate, and it will require only occasional refilling of the water reservoir. However, be warned: there is no reset button, so you are forced to wait until the cycle is completed before you can sterilize another batch. You also have to shake off the condensation inside the bottles before using.
Price: At $44, this is one of the priciest items on our list. However, when you consider how efficiently it sterilizes your baby's bottles and pacifiers, you'll see that it's a very smart investment for busy parents.
Designed for easy use on the go, no electricity required, keeps hot water hot, BPA-free, highly portable, inexpensive, and features a durable stainless steel exterior.
Only fits specific bottles; doesn't WARM up water, only stores hot water for warming.
Features: If you're looking for a bottle warmer to take with you on the go, this is a great option to consider. Let's be clear: it's NOT a bottle warmer in itself. It's really a glorified thermos designed to store hot water for warming up the bottle. But it does a great job of keeping the water hot all night long.
To use it, you have to heat up water and fill the travel warmer in advance. When it comes time to warm the bottle, simply unscrew the lid, insert, and close. After 5 minutes, the bottle will be warm enough for your little one to drink.
The bottle is compact, fits into any travel bag, and will be easy to use on the go. However, it only holds enough water to heat two bottles. It's also only compatible with a few bottle types, so it's best to purchase if you already use Tommee Tippee brand bottles.
Price: At $14, this is one heck of a great deal. You can find hot water anywhere (restaurant, hotel, etc.) and fill the travel warmer no matter where you are. It will be the perfect way to warm up your baby's bottle on the go.
Can be programmed to automatically shut-off when the bottle is warm, LED lights up when in operation, easy to use, keeps bottles cool as well as warm, remembers most recent settings, and features a well-sized reservoir tank.
Bulky and not the most reliable appliance.
Features: For mothers who need to keep pumped breast milk cool overnight or during the day, this is an appliance worth owning. The built-in cooler will keep the milk at a safely low temperature. When it comes time to feed the little one, all you have to do is pop it into the warmer.
The warmer will heat up even large-sized bottles in 4-6 minutes, and will automatically switch off when the bottle is warm. An LED will light up to let you know it's running. The warmer remembers your most recent settings, so it will deliver fairly consistent results. The reservoir tank holds more than enough water for multiple uses.
It's a bit bulky and occupies a lot of space on your nightstand, so make sure you have counter space to work with.
Price: At $35, this is a reasonably priced warmer. Users have commented that it's not the most reliable (warming settings can fluctuate without explanation), but the majority of reviews state that it's worth considering if you need both a warmer and cooler.
Countdown timer lets you know when the bottle is warm, designed to prevent steam burns, easy to us, great for nighttime feedings, will remember preferred heating time, and with such a large water resevoir there is no need for regular refills.
Not compatible with many bottles; challenging to clean.
Features: For busy parents who don't have time to hover over a bottle warmer, this is one of the best baby bottle warmers to consider. The warmer is designed to learn your preferred settings and turn them on with the press of a button. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the ideal setting—there's a very real risk of this warmer overheating/burning the milk—but once you've got it down the warmer will run the same every time.
You'll love the LCD screen, which lights up in the dark and tells you how many minutes of warming are left. The countdown timer will beep when the bottle is ready for you to take out. The lid is designed to hold the steam so there's no risk of being burned when you take out the bottle. The water reservoir holds plenty of liquid for multiple uses. On the downside, it's a bit tough to clean, and it's not compatible with many jars and bottles.
Price: At $32, this is one of the better-priced bottle warmers on our list. There are a few "cons" that make it less than top dog, but it's a great option for parents who want a user-friendly, set-and-forget bottle warmer.
Compatible with a wide range of bottles, keeps breast milk cool for up to 8 hours, can hold enough water for two nighttime feedings, and can be used for pacifiers and food jars.
Has a tendency to over-heat bottles.
Features: This is a product designed to be used in the dead of night, when you're half asleep and fumbling in the darkness. All you have to do is pour one of the pre-filled vials into the warmer, set the bottles in, and press the button. The light will switch off to let you know when the bottle has been fully heated.
Warning: some users have complained that the warmer makes the bottle a little too hot. Test carefully before giving to your child.
What makes this a good overnight choice is the fact that it can keep two bottles of breast milk or formula cool for up to eight hours. Prepare the bottles or pump breast milk the night before, and the bottles will be ready for you to warm overnight.
You can also use the warmer to heat baby food (in glass jars) or sterilize pacifiers. It's a very handy appliance to have for an easier night of sleep!
Price: At $19, how could this not be a great option to consider? Its affordable price tag and convenient design makes it a great option for those who want a no-fuss bottle warmer to use at night.
Can hold six bottles at once, warms and sterilizes, kills off 99.9% of bacteria, features an auto shut-off to prevent injuries, fits a wide range of bottles and accessories, and it's easy to keep clean.
Doesn't automatically dry the bottles; you have to leave to air dry or use a towel.
Features: If you're looking for a baby bottle sterilizer that can do it all, this bad boy is your top pick. It's designed to fit up to six Philips AVENT bottles, but it can hold bottles by other manufacturers, bottle nipples, pacifiers, and even teething toys. The heating element will sterilize them all in just 6 minutes. If you don't need to use the bottles right away, you can leave them in the sterilizer for up to 24 hours without worrying about bacteria or germs.
The sterilizer is beautifully easy to use. You simply load in the bottles, add a bit of water, and press the button. Six minutes later, the sterilizer switches off automatically, delivering perfectly clean, sterile bottles.
Price: Paying $48 for this sterilizer is not too much to ask. You get a 2-year warranty with the appliance, but you'll find that it works well for years to come. It's definitely worth it if you need versatility and sterile bottles, but don't have time to hand-wash or boil the bottles yourself.
User-friendly, easy to learn, compact, consistent warming, compatible with most baby bottles, feature-rich, designed to avoid overheating, and slow-warming prevents burning milk.
Not a "smart" warmer and no temperature control.
Features: If you're looking for a bottle warmer that heats up milk in a minute, look elsewhere. This bottle warmer works slowly, but it reduces the risk of nutrient breakdown (caused by too much heat) and hotspots. This bottle warmer delivers consistency in heating so you end up with a bottle of milk that is thoroughly warmed through.
The overflow mechanism prevents the hot water from spilling over, and you'll find the reservoir can hold enough water for multiple uses. The auto shutoff feature ensures your milk doesn't get too hot. The warmer shuts off and drains the hot water, removing the heat source to prevent overheating the bottle.
The Kozii is more than just a bottle warmer—it can also handle formula, storage bags, liner bottles, food jars, glass bottles, and plastic bottles. And it's designed to accommodate almost any bottle shape or size, making it a highly versatile choice.
It's not a "smart" warmer (won't adapt to the contents of the bottle) and there is no buzzer or beep to let you know the warmer is done. However, it does an excellent job of heating up your baby's bottle consistently.
Price: At $46, this is one of the pricier items on our list. However, it delivers consistency, user-friendliness, and durability: everything you need in a bottle warmer. Definitely worth the price!
Baby Bottle Sterilizers and Warmers Buying Guide
Since anyone can remember, cleaning and sterilizing baby feeding equipment has always been a concern. As late as the 19th century, the use of dirty feeding devices, combined with the lack of proper milk storage and sterilization, led to the deaths of one third of all artificially fed infants during their first year of life.
Because all parents want to ensure that their little ones are kept safe, the modern industry of manufacturing bottles, sterilizing equipment, and feeding implements has been given substantial importance. However, it’s puzzling why there’s hardly any information on the invention, development and manufacture of the baby bottle sterilizer.
One entry in the U.S. Patent Office records show that in July 1937 a patent application was filed for inventor Martin W. Connors. His invention relates to bottle sterilizers, and more particularly to a device that allows multiple nursing bottles to be rapidly, effectively, and thoroughly sterilized at the same time. As it was then, the concept for baby bottle sterilizers remains the same today; except these days we have a lot more options and brands to choose from.
So, with the wide selection available out there, how do we know we’re picking the right bottle sterilizer and warmer for our precious babies? And even before that, must we even sterilize?
In general, sterilizing baby bottles is an added step beyond traditional cleaning that provides extra protection against germs. But apart from the initial sterilization, it’s not absolutely necessary to do it after every feeding, except if your water supply isn’t reliably clean, or if your baby was born prematurely.
A thorough washing with hot, soapy water is all your bottles really need. That being said, the existence of baby bottle sterilizers and warmers is really mostly just for convenience. Still, it’s a good idea to sterilize all baby feeding equipment to be on the safe side.
Importance of Proper Sterilization
Whether formula-feeding or expressing breastmilk, it’s vital to keep equipment and baby bottles clean and safe. Sterilizing helps protect our babies against germs and infection, as harmful bacteria grow quickly in milk. This is why it’s recommended that sterilizing bottles, teats, dummies, breast pumps and other feeding accessories be continued until your baby is a year old.
Moreover, if you decide to start feeding solids before your child is the recommended six months old, you’ll also need to sterilize their spoons and bowls. Although sterilizing can easily be done by just dunking the bottles and other equipment in boiling water for five minutes or so, a sterilizer will help you do the job faster, easier and more efficiently.
Choosing the Right Baby Bottle Sterilizer
So, after you’ve done your research and decided on the best bottles for your baby, there’s still another step to consider: how to clean them. Whether you’ve chosen glass, plastic or silicone bottles, you’ll have to keep them as germ-free as possible to protect your baby’s developing immune system.
There are several factors you should consider before buying a baby bottle sterilizer.
You may also want to look out for extra features, such as:
Types of Sterilizers
There are three main types of sterilizers in the market: electric, microwave, and UV.
These sterilizers use hot steam to kill germs and bacteria. There are some that not only sterilize, but dry and even deodorize. They’re the most convenient way of sterilizing, particularly if you have a lot of items.
Often, all you need to do is put the bottles and other feeding gear in, press a button, and grab them later. Depending on the model, sterilizing takes 5 to 15 minutes, and items remain sterile for up to 24 hours with the lid closed. While they’re more expensive and will take up room on the counter-top, they're simple, fast and efficient.
Same as electric, these sterilizers use high heat steam to kill bacteria and germs. To use them, the bottles are placed in a container with water added and then placed in the microwave for the required duration, which depends on the wattage of your microwave – usually two to eight minutes.
Depending on the model, microwave sterilizers can keep items sterile for up to 24 hours if the lid remains closed. Remember that metal items cannot be sterilized in a microwave. This option is low cost and can be stashed away when not in use.
UV (Portable Bottle Sterilizer)
Specifically designed for travel, the UV bottle sterilizer uses ultraviolet light, not steam, to kill germs and bacteria. By far the most portable, they are compact and lightweight. But, because they are so small, they will often require you to dismantle the bottle and sterilize parts separately.
Also, there are models that only sterilize the nipple of the bottle, which is not ideal. They’re still a great choice when you’re out of the house because there’s no need for an external power source, either directly or with a microwave. UV sterilizers are also often cheaper than many electric options, and the time they take to sterilize is roughly the same, usually upwards of 10 minutes.
Important Note Before Sterilizing
Before you jump in and start sterilizing your baby’s feeding gear, watch out for BPA in plastic baby bottles and other feeding equipment. BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Plastic baby bottles can contain BPA that can mix with your baby’s formula or milk when heated. Studies have linked BPA to development problems in young children and because most common methods of sterilization rely on heat, it is vital to look for plastic baby bottles that are BPA-free.
Many moms choose glass bottles as they are widely considered the safest for young babies. Also, you have to clean bottles, teats and other feeding equipment in hot, soapy water and rinse them in clean, cold or warm running water before sterilizing. Or, you can wash the bottles in the top rack of your dishwasher before sanitizing.
When to Sterilize
Sterilize brand new bottles – Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s germ-free. Every time you purchase a new bottle, nipple or other feeding device, be sure to always clean and properly sterilize before having your baby use them.
Sterilize more vigilantly when your baby has been sick – If your baby has recently come down with the cold or flu, you will want to be extra vigilant with sterilizing. You do not want to re-infect your baby with germs from his or her last bout of sickness.
Sterilize glass baby bottles – Unless the instructions indicate the contrary, glass baby bottles can be sterilized the same way as BPA-free plastic baby bottles.
Sterilize borrowed and second-hand bottles – With all the gear and supplies that babies require, some moms hit up consignment shops or borrow baby bottles from friends and family. In these cases, it’s critical to sterilize pre-used bottles before having your child use them for the first time. The same goes for bottles that have been used for older siblings in your own home.
Sterilize if baby was premature or has health issues – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sterilization is particularly important if baby was born prematurely or has a weakened immune system.
Sterilize if you don’t have access to clean drinking water – If your home isn’t part of a municipality with clean drinking water, you use well water, or you’re traveling in a country with questionable water purity, you may need to sterilize your baby’s bottles more often; once daily or even after each use would be prudent to avoid buildup of harmful microbes.
Do I Really Need A Bottle Sterilizer?
The simple answer is – not really. If you don’t mind waking up at 3am to boil water to sterilize your baby’s bottles, assuming that they’re glass or BPA-free plastic, and waiting at least 10 minutes for the bottles to be ready for use, then no, you don’t need a bottle sterilizer.
But if you’re looking for ease and convenience, a bottle sterilizer is definitely the way to go because it not only safely sterilizes bottles, the device also functions as a bottle dryer, food warmer, egg boiler and milk warmer! So, when your baby wakes up at the dreaded witching hour, you’re a fairy with a magic wand! Just grab that bottle and off you both drift back to dreamland!