BEST BOTTLE WARMERS | NOVEMBER 2017
Tired parents are constantly looking for ways to make their lives easier. Bottle warmers can take the guesswork out of warming breast milk or formula. From basic to multi-functional, bottle warmers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. To help you make an informed decision, our team did extensive research on the features and types of bottle warmers on the market. We created categories based on function such as gentle bottle warmer (that uses a water bath to heat milk slowly), sanitizing bottle warmer, and bottle warmers that can also prepare baby food. We also provide information on key features such as a timer and ease of cleaning. Read more about our methodology.
The Born Free Tru-Temp Bottle Warmer comes with a built-in cooler for easy nighttime feedings. Reliable temperature settings, an easy to manage reservoir, and automatic shut-off are a few of the bonus features that make this bottle warmer a top pick.Read full review.
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer is a no frills option that performs well. Accurate warming times are achieved through precise water measurement using the included measuring cup. It can also be used to sterilize pacifiers or nipples.Read full review.
Bottle Warmers BUYING GUIDE
Health and Safety
Anytime a heating element is involved there is a risk of overheating or scalding. Bottle warmers should bring milk or formula a temperature at or around human body temperature of 98.5F. Overheating the contents of a bottle can destroy the nutrients and antibodies naturally found in breastmilk as well as scald a baby. Before feeding the milk to your baby, you should test it on the sensitive skin found on the inside of your wrist. If it feels hot to you, wait for it to cool before giving it to your baby.
Bottle warmers come in one of two types—steam or water bath. Steam warmers use a heating element to warm water, creating steam that circulates around the bottle warming the milk or formula. This type of warmer usually heats the fastest, but the results aren’t as even as those warmers that use a water bath. As the name suggests, warmers that use a water bath literally bathe the bottle in warm water that circulates around the bottle. This process is slower but results in more even warming and a reduced risk of overheating. Models that use a water bath also don’t require the high temperatures needed to produce steam, reducing the risk of getting a burn.
Baby bottles come in all shapes and sizes from tall and skinny to short and round. Because you may not know which kind of bottle your baby will prefer, it’s best to purchase a bottle warmer that fits as many different bottle types as possible. Be sure to note if the bottle warmer has any warnings about the materials used to make the bottle such as glass or plastic.
Timer and Automatic Shutoff
Timers with an automatic shutoff feature help prevent overheating. Many an exhausted parent has walked away to change a diaper and forgotten a bottle in the warmer. Automatic shutoff prevents damaging the contents of the bottle. Models with an audible signal when the bottle is ready are also nice for parents that may get distracted.
Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to your baby keeping products clean and sanitary is of the utmost importance. Warm water is notorious for attracting and growing unwanted guests such as bugs and bacteria. Some warmers require water from steaming or bathing to be cleaned after each use while others can go through several uses before being cleaned. Some warmers are easier to clean than others. Read through and follow cleaning instructions carefully to be sure best practices are followed.
For under $15, you can find a basic bottle warmer for occasional use. These models may be electric, battery powered, or a thermos type design that uses hot water only. Most models in this range use steam to heat the bottle. They usually do not include extra features such as a timer or indicator light when the bottle is warmed. At $20-$40, you’ll find warmers with timers, different settings for bottle size, and some with audible alarms. Some can also be used to sterilize bottles and small baby items such as pacifiers. At $50 and up are warmers that use water baths and/or steam, have multiple timer settings, sterilize bottles, and some that can also warm and puree baby food.
FULL product reviews
We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.
The Born Free Tru-Temp Bottle Warmer and Cooler consistently and evenly warm bottles. The removable insulated cooler keeps bottles cool for up to eight hours, which means parents don’t have to stumble to the kitchen in the middle of the night. One of our favorite features is the compatibility with different brands and types of bottles. For parents that will be using a bottle warmer daily, the Born Free has the convenience features that make it a pleasure to use.
Why We Recommend It
- Compatible with many bottle makes and styles. The following bottles may be used with this warmer: Born Free, Avent Natural, Avent Classic, Tommee Tippee, Nuk, Dr. Brown’s Wide Mouth, Joovy, Evenflo Wide Neck, Medela, Chicco. You certainly won’t be limited to a single brand of bottle.
- Easy to manage reservoir. The water reservoir doesn’t need to be filled with every use. There is an indicator light when the water level starts to get low, and automatic shut off occurs before it empties completely. Be sure to clean the reservoir properly when you change the water.
- Adjusts for liquid temperature. Warming times are made more accurate with a setting to indicate whether the liquid has been refrigerated or is at room temperature.
- Cooler. While not every parent will want to use the cooler, it is a nice feature for nighttime feedings. It does a good job of keeping milk cold and ready to use.
- Visual display. A visual display counts down time and indicates when the bottle is ready.
- May Underheat. Milk may be underheated if it has been refrigerated for a prolonged period of time or frozen.
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer takes some trial and error to find the right settings. The water level has to be adjusted according to how much liquid is being warmed. But, once you’ve found the right water level for the amount of liquid you use most, it’s simple to use. It can also warm baby food and sterilize pacifiers.
Why We Recommend It
- Bottle compatibility. It can hold most wide, narrow, angled, and disposable bottles though brands are not specified.
- Quick, consistent heating. When the correct amount of water is used, heating is fast and consistent with no hot spots.
- Automatic shut off. This added safety feature is one of the few extras that come with this bottle warmer. It prevents the bottles from becoming overheated.
- Settings can be confusing. The water level controls how long the bottle takes to warm. While there is a chart provided, it can be confusing. Some trial and error may be needed for accurate warming.
BEST BY CATEGORY
Best Gentle Bottle Warmer
Vital nutrients and antibodies can be harmed if breast milk is overheated. Gentle bottle warmers use a water bath to bring bottles to the right temperature, which is around 98F or body temperature. They may be slower than some steam warmers, but the risk of overheating is reduced. This type of warmer can have either a temperature gauge or a timer to stop warming at the correct time. In general, timed warmers perform better.
A circulating water bath evenly spreads the heat around bottles, bags, or baby food in the Kiinde Kozii. Adjust the timer according to how much milk or formula is being heated and the automatic shut off takes care of the rest. An onboard water reservoir lasts for several feedings so you don’t have to refill it every time, which nice for night time feedings.
Why We Recommend It
- Water bath. Preserving the nutrients and antibodies in breastmilk is of the utmost importance. The chances of overheating or heating too fast are reduced when using the water bath method because warm water moves around the bottle or baby food gently bringing it to temperature.
- Timer and display. The timer counts down until the milk is ready. When you have a crying baby, a countdown can make things easier.
- Auto shutoff. The water stops flowing once time runs out. A distracted parent doesn’t need to worry that they’ve overheated the milk.
- Versatility. The Kozii can safely warm glass or plastic bottles, breastmilk storage bags, and baby food jars. It can also handle bottles of different shapes and sizes.
- Customer service. Kozii provides excellent customer service for damaged or defective units.
- Defective units. Occasionally a Kozii will break within three months of purchase. However, Kiinde either fixes the problem or sends a replacement warmer.
Best Sanitizing Bottle Warmer
Sanitizing bottle warmers can, as their name implies, both sterilize and warm bottles. Depending on the size of the warmer, some can be used to sterilize bottles, pacifiers, nipples, and other baby items. It can be a convenient way to keep small baby items clean. This type of warmer can provide peace of mind knowing items are properly sanitized while also being multi-functional, saving storage space.
The Maxx Elite Smart Bottle Warmer and Sterilizer has multiple warming features, including the Steady Warm feature that allows you to keep a warm bottle ready to go. The compact design makes it easy to store, and it can sterilize small items like bottles, pacifiers, and nipples. An easy to use interface and intuitive controls make this a nice choice for parents that use bottles for most of their baby’s feedings.
Why We Recommend It
- Steady warm feature. The Steady Warm feature keeps a bottle at temperature for up to four hours. For babies that eat often and unpredictably, this feature keeps a bottle on hand all day.
- Sterilizes. Easy sterilization of pacifiers, nipples, and bottles makes less work for busy parents.
- Automatic shutoff. Whether using the Gentle Warm or the Steady Warm features, once the time runs out the heat stops so that vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies are not destroyed.
- No audible signal. There is no audible signal once the timer is done. Milk won’t overheat because of the automatic shutoff, but a tired parent may forget to check the bottle.
- Small Size. While the small size is a space saver, it can’t warm tall bottles.
Best Bottle Warmer with Food Steamer
A bottle warmer with a food steamer is the all-in-one of the bottle warmer world. If you’re planning on making your own baby food, a bottle warmer that also steams and purees food makes sense. They come with several pieces and attachments for each of the different uses, which does require more storage space. Many can also sanitize bottles and other baby items adding more time-saving functions.
The Cuisinart BFM-1000 Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer is larger than most bottle warmers, but it can do so much more. The four-cup work bowl has plenty of room to steam and puree baby food. A steam blade creates even steam distribution throughout the warming process. The warmer can be adjusted using an insert to fit narrow bottles for greater versatility.
Why We Recommend It
- Multi-functional. Many people are looking to cut down on their number of kitchen gadgets. With the BFM-1000 you can take care of steaming food, pureeing baby food, and warming bottles with one device.
- Adjustable for versatility. The insert used to adjust for bottle sizes helps to maximize the efficiency of warming the bottle. This works well for parents that may have several sizes and types of bottles.
- Blade locks in place. The blade locks in place so that when you pour out pureed food the blades do not fall out.
- Difficult to clean. The instructions suggest cleaning out the water reservoir once a month. However, cleaning can be difficult and cumbersome.
Best Bottle Warmer for Travel
For a modern family on the go, a travel warmer can be a convenient way to warm milk, formula or baby food. Compact and durable, most are battery powered and/or can be plugged into a DC outlet in a vehicle making them easy to use anywhere. In general, this kind of bottle warmer takes longer to warm milk or formula than an electric model. But, if you need to feed your baby while on the road or while commuting, a travel warmer can be invaluable.
The Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer is more than a glorified thermos. While the thermos technology keeps the water hot, the frosted lid becomes the warming container at feeding time. The design of this warmer allows bottles of different shapes and sizes to be used. It doesn’t require electricity or batteries.
Why We Recommend It
- Simple to use. With no cords or batteries, this bottle warmer is pretty basic. Hot water warms the milk. Parents monitor milk temperature the old-fashioned way with the sensitive skin on the inside of the wrist.
- Great functionality at low price The no-frills design leaves it at an attractive price.
- Works with many different bottle brands. Breast milk storage bags and bottles of all sizes and shapes can be warmed. You aren’t limited to one brand.
- On the bulky side. Tall and heavy when loaded with water, it adds weight to the diaper bag.
- Leaks if not sealed properly. The lid must be sealed correctly or it can leak scalding water into your diaper bag. Following instructions precisely reduces this problem.