WE DID THE WORK TO FIND THE BEST AND THESE ARE THE RESULTS:
Best for the Money
Best on a Budget
It’s incredibly important to keep a baby’s environment as sanitary and as germ free as possible, especially where newborns are concerned given their immune systems are very underdeveloped. Exposure to bacteria and contamination can be very detrimental to a baby who can’t fight infection the way adults can.
For babies who are bottle fed, keeping feeding equipment sterile is extremely important. Many caregivers still sterilize bottles the old-fashioned way by boiling items. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable and effective but can be a bit of a hassle. Baby bottle sterilization units have been on the market for quite some time now and represent a great alternative for parents who want an easier and more effective way to ensure their baby’s bottling systems are 100% sterile.
There are a lot of baby bottle sterilizers on the market and many of them work on slightly different premises. Selecting one can be confusing and daunting. Here we have narrowed the field down to three baby bottle sterilizers that we think are up to the task. In this review, we reveal the overall best baby bottle sterilizer, the best baby bottle sterilizer for the money, and the best baby bottle sterilizer on a budget. Realistically, each of these represents a good option so this review should set you off on the right path.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer
This is considered by us the best baby bottle sterilizer on the market!
If your baby is exclusively or occasionally bottle-fed, this steam sterilizer will make your life much easier. It is the most expensive unit we review here but we say it is worth the investment. Not only does it sterilize 8 bottles at a time, but it also dries them thoroughly. A big complaint about other sterilizers is that they don’t also dry bottles. However, leaving bottles to air dry immediately introduces bacteria back into the picture. With the Wabi, you don’t need to worry about this.
It is simple and easy to use and is also ideal for sterilizing other items. Although it takes a little longer to run its steam and dry cycle than other units on the market, this won’t be an issue if parents plan ahead. Plus items can be stored in the unit to keep them sterile for an extended period of time.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer for the money
Sterilizes a day’s worth of bottles (6) bottles in 5 minutes
The Tommee Tippee Sterilizer is a solid, mid market option for parents looking for a reliable sterilizer but who don’t want to break the bank. This sterilizer works on the same premise as the Wabi but it doesn’t include the drying function.
It’s quite simple in design and easy to use, and contains few parts so it’s easy to clean. It also comes equipped with a couple of “extras” which we like. First the lid itself is flat on top so parents can flip it over when the unit isn’t in use and they have a sterile surface on which to prepare bottles. This unit also comes with two bottles, a dispenser, and nipple tongs so it’s more like a feeding starter kit than a sterilizer alone. That said, you can use any branded bottles in this sterilizer.
Some complaints include problems regarding the heating element so quality may be spotty. Further, this unit may need to be decalcified more frequently than some of the other units on the market do.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer on a budget
Eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria in just 2 minutes
The AVENT bottle sterilizer is a good choice for parents who are tired of boiling baby bottles but who don’t want to make a big investment. It’s particularly ideal for parents who use Philips bottles since the sterilizer is best suited with its own branded bottles. It’s also well suited for sterilizing other baby items like pacifiers, etc.
This sterilizer is convenient and works quickly but don’t expect miracles at this price point. Bottles still need to be washed thoroughly before using the AVENT sterilizer and will have to be dried thoroughly afterwards too. You’ll also need to check your microwave wattage and size to ensure you’ll be able to use this sterilizer properly.
This product is obviously not the right choice for parents who are apprehensive about plastic in microwaves. This principle alone will be a deal breaker for some. Another black mark against this unit is that it would be nice if it came with a measuring utensil to make it easier for parents to add the right amount of water.
Why you need a PRODUCT CATEGORY
A baby bottle sterilizer is designed to ensure that any bottling equipment going near your baby’s mouth is sterile and germ free. We think a sterilizer is an absolute must-have for parents of babies who are exclusively or occasionally bottle-fed. Plus, as a nice bonus, baby bottle sterilizers can also be used to sterilize many other baby items like pacifiers, small toys, baby utensils, medical equipment, etc.
Baby bottle sterilizers are designed to replace the old-fashioned sterilization method of boiling baby bottles on the stovetop to eradicate germs and bacteria. And while there is nothing wrong with this approach per se, in a world where convenience and time savings are both of the essence, baby bottle sterilizers have great appeal.
Parents and caregivers spend a lot of money on baby equipment. Yes, a baby bottle sterilizer does represent another investment but we think it is a worthwhile one given it will help to keep your baby safe and healthy. If you’re tired of boiling baby bottles, then a bottle sterilizer represents a clean and simple alternative and is probably a good choice for you.
What makes a great Baby Bottle Sterilizer – Buyer’s Guide
There are several key things you want to look for in a baby bottle sterilizer, namely:
Consider whether it is designed in such a way that it will efficiently and effectively sterilize your baby bottles.
Most sterilizers work with steam but consider how the steam is generated. Some use a heating coil while others generate steam via the microwave.
Speed of sterilization:
Some sterilizers have cycles as short as 2 minutes while others can take up to 15 minutes.
Consider whether the unit also serves to dry and store equipment and whether this is important to you or not.
Is it constructed to hold up to daily use and to stand the test of time? Consider if it is backed by a warranty and by a strong brand name.
The selection of products available means you can find one right for your budget.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer – Full Review
We consider the Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer to be the best overall baby bottle sterilizer. It includes the most features of the products we reviewed and all of them are useful. As a result, the competition doesn’t quite measure up. It comes with a heftier price tag ($120) than other sterilizers out there, but when you consider that it’s designed with your baby’s health in mind, it’s worth the investment. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
This Wabi Electric Steam Sterilizer has many strengths. First we should point out that it is multifunctional in a couple of ways. In terms of function, it both sterilizes and dries bottles which reduces contamination. Open-air drying, which many parents default to, can undo the hard work of a sterilizer since it gives bacteria and dust an opportunity to settle on equipment again quickly. The drying function prevents this by completely drying bottles in an airtight compartment. Equipment can also be stored within this compartment to keep it sterile for an extended period of time.
The Wabi process also isn’t limited to bottles. It can also be used to sterilize other baby items like pacifiers, sippy cups, utensils, small toys, or breast pump parts. Many parents even use this sterilizer for children’s medical equipment parts.
It is designed to hold 8 bottles at once so parents can sterilize enough bottles for a day of feedings at one time. It includes two time settings for the sterilization cycle so parents have a choice. The shortest setting is 8 minutes and the longest is 15 minutes. The sterilizer includes a smart auto-shut off feature so you can set it and go. It also includes multiple dry time options. Parents or caregivers can choose drying cycles of either 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
We particularly love that this sterilizer is really easy to use. Add water, load, push a button, and you’re off. Of course, it is also BPA free.
These things aside, if a sterilizer doesn’t do the job it is meant to do then none of the bells and whistles mean anything. The Wabi Sterilizer’s physical structure is designed to ensure the most efficient sterilization and drying possible. The bottle rack is designed so that the steam is forced straight up into the bottles to promote the most effective sterilization. The same holds true for hot air during the drying cycle.
While this product is of very high quality, some users have complained about the unit leaking. This is most likely do to a manufacturing flaw so parents are encouraged to exchange faulty units for new ones if this happens. Leaks appear to be the exception to the norm.
Other users indicate that the product does require descaling. This will, naturally, need to be more frequent if your water is hard. Wabi has also manufactured a “plus” version that includes one button descaling if customers are interested in upgrading. That said, the process to descale the base version is quite straightforward.
Further, because it stores 8 bottles it is a little on the large side so it needs some dedicated counter space. There isn’t really any way around this since it needs to be large enough to accommodate the number of bottles it promises to clean.
Sterilizing and drying in one compartment.
None to speak of.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer for the money – Full Review
Sterilizes a day’s worth of bottles (6) bottles in 5 minutes
We consider the Tommee Tippee to be the best bet for the money. It does very well on all of the key features. Further, it is reasonably priced at about the $55 mark and is definitely worth the investment. It doesn’t have as many features as the Wabi but still performs its primary duty well.
The Tommee Tippee Sterilizer has capacity for 6 bottles. It also works easily with the touch of a button. The sterilizer cycle takes 5 minutes. Although it doesn’t have a drying cycle, the sterilizer does cool down fast so you aren’t dealing with boiling hot parts. Further, if you store items in the unit itself, it will keep them sterile for 24 hours providing you don’t open the lid.
The lid is flat on top so you can flip it over to use as a sterile prep surface as you are readying bottles. Like the Wabi, the entire unit is BPA free.
We also think it’s really handy (and really smart) that the unit comes with two CTN bottles, one formula dispenser, and nipple tongs. This turns it into much more of a starter kit than simply a bottle sterilizer. We know that once moms find a bottle system they like, there are very loyal to that system. This is a great way for moms to test a system out while also buying an essential item (the sterilizer). That said you do not HAVE To use Tommee Tippee bottles in this sterilizer. It can be used with any brand.
Just like the Wabi, you can use this sterilizer for other items too. It is suitable for sterilizing pacifiers, sippy cups, utensils, small toys, or breast pump parts. Many parents even use to sterilize medical accessories.
While most users were happy with this product, there have been some issues with the heating element in the bottom. Some users have complained that it doesn’t shut off like it’s supposed to and others complain that the element discolors. There is a strong chance with the latter complaint that this is due to calcium buildup. That said, it appears to need cleaning more frequently than other sterilizers on the market.
While the flat top is a strength, you need to wait for the unit to cool before grasping the lid. It doesn’t have a handle and gets quite hot.
Also we aren’t sure why the Wabi takes 8-15 minutes to sterilize while the Tommee Tippee only takes 5. We can assume that the Tommee Tippee gets hotter which may explain why there are problems with the heating element.
Overall, it appears that the Tommee Tippee sterilizer may have some quality problems. That said, if you get a good unit (which most do) you’ll be happy with it.
Acts as a sterile storage container.
Quality of heating element.
Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer on a budget – Full Review
Eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria in just 2 minutes
The Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer is our budget pic. Available at the $20 mark, it gives those on a budget an opportunity to get into this category. Because it works via the microwave, some will love it and others won’t. But if you are on board, at this level of investment, it’s a great pick.
The AVENT Sterilizer has capacity for 4-9 ounce, or 2-11 ounce Phillips bottles and works in conjunction with your microwave. A real strength of this product is that it claims to sterilize bottles in just 2 minutes but there is a real BUT associated with this claim. The time the AVENT sterilizer takes to work is based on the strength of your microwave. If your microwave is less than 1,100 watts, it will take longer.
The instructions indicate that for a microwave with a wattage of 850-1,100, expect 4 minutes, and for a microwave with a wattage of 500-850, expect 6 minutes.
Assuming folks have strong microwaves, the AVENT (at 2 minutes) sterilizes the fastest. This is in comparison to the Tommee Tippee which performs in 5 minutes and the Wabi which performs in 8. Anybody who has ever gotten a bottle ready for a screaming baby knows that time is of the essence so the AVENT could be the best from that perspective.
It’s also quite easy to use. Just add the recommended amount of water, your equipment for sterilizing, close the lid, and place the unit in the microwave. Heat on high for 2 minutes and you’re done. As mentioned, the time necessary is somewhat dependent on the wattage of your microwave. Less powerful microwaves will take longer.
Like the other products reviewed, the entire unit is BPA free. We also like that it is back by a 1-year warranty.
We suspect that a major roadblock to selecting the AVENT sterilizer will be due to the fact that it is a microwave-based unit. No matter how much anyone swears up and down that microwaving plastic is safe, some parents just simply won’t do it. If you are one of these parents, you probably haven’t even gotten this far in the review. You just won’t select this unit.
In terms of other weaknesses, the unit itself is also fairly sizeable so make sure you know the capacity of your microwave to ensure a fit. Despite it being on the large-side, some users still struggled to fit enough bottles inside the unit to make it worth the effort.
It also doesn’t work well with other branded bottles so this will be limiting for parents who have bottles made by brands other than Phillips.
This unit does not dry or cool bottles as the Wabi and Tommee Tippee do (respectively). When the time is up, the container and bottles will be hot and wet. Proceed with caution when removing the unit and the bottles from the microwave.
Speed of sterilization.
Only works with Phillips-branded bottles.
It’s important to point out that baby bottle sterilizers do not clean baby bottles. In order for them to effectively do their job, bottles and other items must be clean before they are put in the sterilizing unit. Each of the sterilizers reviewed here work with steam to sterilize. There is no water being forced or sprayed through the units, and none of them contain cleaning blades or agitation systems so there is no part of their function that works to clean any of the bottling equipment.
Some consumers have complained that sterilizers require bottles to be clean before using them but obviously this complaint is the result of their lack of education. No sterilizer promises to clean as well. If you put bottles in a baby bottle sterilizer dirty, they will not come out clean or sterile. It’s simple enough to wash bottles in the dishwasher or by hand first. The only way sterilizers can work is if items placed within them are clean first so we want to ensure any potential buyers go in with eyes wide open.