The Best Bottle Sterilizers 2021
Continue reading to learn how we arrived at this conclusion, and see nearly 10 other great options.
To find you the best bottle sterilizers of the year, we tested 4 new options and compared them with 10 of the most popular models on the market. These included electric bottle sterilizers, microwave sterilizers, and the new UV sterilizers. Below are the top 5 bottle sterilizers we found, followed by in-depth reviews.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Babymoov Pure Sterilizer & Dryer|
|#2. Papablic Sterilizer & Dryer|
|#3. Baby Brezza Sterilizer & Dryer|
|#4. Philips AVENT 3in1 Sterilizer|
|#5. Dr. Brown's Deluxe Sterilizer|
Recent research has demonstrated that even baby bottles labeled as BPA-free or BPA-safe leach BPA chemicals after extended use, including washing, scrubbing, and steam sterilization. In fact, every single "BPA free" bottle they tested released residual BPA following multiple cleanings. While we recommend steam sterilizing your baby bottles, we strongly suggest using glass or silicone baby bottles.
In any case, regardless of whether you choose to use plastic, silicone, or glass bottles, be sure to follow all steaming instructions carefully to avoid placing excessive stress on the bottle. The microwave bottle steam sterilizers and electric steam sterilizers are both good options, but only if they are used exactly as suggested by the manufacturers. This is the same advice we give for parents who choose to use baby bottle warmers. Note also that steam sterilizers provide sterilization, not cleaning; you need to give the bottles a quick wash before you put them into the sterilizer.
In our testing, we used each sterilizer over a dozen times, tried to fit 5 different baby bottle sizes and shapes (and pacifiers and more!), cleaned them, dishwashed the parts, and measured their internal temperatures. While we tested, we took notes about the pros and cons of each model, including their reliability, effectiveness, compatibility with various bottle types, and and ease of use.
- Top 5 Sterilizers Comparison Table
- 1. Best Overall: Babymoov Pure
- 2. Papablic Sterilizer & Dryer
- 3. Baby Brezza Sterilizer & Dryer
- 4. Philips AVENT 3in1 Sterilizer
- 5. Dr. Browns Deluxe Sterilizer
- 6. OMORC Baby Bottle Sterilizer
- 7. Tommee Tippee Sterilizer
- 8. Wabi Baby UV Bottle Sterilizer
- 9. Munchkin Microwave Bottle Sterilizer
Here are the Best Bottle Sterilizers of 2021!
This Babymoov product is completely new the market for last year, and we are super impressed with its features and functionality! Babymoov is best known for their awesome baby food maker, which we review in our best baby food makers article. We think this product is even more impressive! Let's talk about the features. It combines a bottle sterilizer with a bottle dryer, for all-in-one functionality. You can use the sterilizing function alone, the drying function alone, or you can run both (one after the other). For sterilizing, it uses an 8-minute sterilizing cycle that kills 99.9% of all germs and bacteria that might be found on your bottles and accessories. Rather than sending steam throughout a bit internal space, this sterilizer nicely targets the inside of the bottles with its steam stems that direct the steam right into the bottles, while also steaming the outside space through bottom tray slots. There are six of those stems, so you can sterilize up to 6 bottles at once. Even the wide-mouth ones fit nicely next to one another. Note that all of the stems are removable and can be moved around to fit various shapes and sizes of items. It also has a smaller upper tray that is used for steam sterilizing smaller parts, like bottle nipples, pacifiers, breast pump parts, teether toys, and more. The upper tray has 6 hooks that work well for holding any of those parts. Once it's done steam sterilizing your items, it moves into drying mode (which you can set from 30 to 60 minutes). The drying mode is really impressive and uses not only a fan and heat, but also a HEPA filter that helps keep germs from blowing into the sterilizer during the drying process.
We havent reviewed any other baby bottle dryer that used a HEPA filter, so this feature sets this product apart from the others. Another aspect that sets it apart is the 36-hour storage feature, meaning that items inside will stay sterile for up to 36 hours after the cycle completes, so you don't need to take them out immediately. Of course, once you open the lid, that 36-hour time window ends. In our testing, we found the control panel super intuitive, the water reservoir easy to fill with the included measuring cup (use distilled water only!), and everything to work very reliably and thoroughly. Our thermometer showed that temperatures inside reached and maintained 250 degrees F, which means that it reaches the threshold for effective steam sterilization. The dryer worked best when it was set closer to about 60 minutes of drying time. There is a drip tray underneath the appliance that you need to empty before using, as it is designed to let some of the steam escape through the bottom during sterilization. Cons? Not many at all. The price is a bit high relative to others, coming in at about $99, but we really think you're getting your money's worth. Overall, this is the best baby bottle sterilizer and dryer on the market this year, and we are happy to have it up here on our list! Interested? You can check out the Babymoov Turbo Pure Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer here.
Before we got our hands on the Papablic sterilizer and dryer system, we admit we were really skeptical. We hadn't heard of the company before, and we've become increasingly wary of fake reviews on the various ecommerce websites. But we were totally wrong, this is an awesome product that is making a big splash on the bottle sterilizer market! Like the Baby Brezza, this electric steam sterilizer not only sterilizes but also has a bottle drying function. This means that rather than opening the system after sterilizing and finding a bunch of soaking wet bottles and nipples, you run it through the dual function sterilization and drying process and find everything nice and dry and ready for next use (or ready to be put away). It uses a deep bottom try that can really fit a lot of bottles! We were able to fit 8 Dr. Brown's bottles in there, or 5 wide Comotomo, Tommee Tippe, or Avent bottles, without any space issues. For bigger and taller bottles, we needed to remove the little white stems from the bottom tray (you'll see what we mean). Then it has a upper tray that you attach, which is shallower and easily fits all of the bottle nipples and then some - pacifiers, breast pump parts, etc. Once you put the lid on and add the 100mL (about 3.4 ounces) of distilled water, you're ready to start sterilizing. There are a few different settings you can use. You can do an 8-minute sterilization process only, the 8-minute sterilization process plus 45 minutes of drying, or the 8-minute sterilization process plus 60 minutes of drying. In New England in an air conditioned home, we were able to consistently get everything dry with the 45-minute drying setting, but if you're in a more humid area then definitely go for the 60 minutes. Note that if you only want to use the drying function (without sterilizing), you can simply turn it to drying and it will sense that there is no water in the reservoir (after about a minute of thinking) and then simply dry the bottles.
The Papablic sterilizer settings and features are very similar to the Baby Brezza, so it was all very familiar for us. In the steaming process, we checked the interior temperature with our thermometer and it exceeded the 250 degree F standard for steam sterilization, so we were happy to see that. Once the sterilization and drying process is complete, Papablic claims 12 hours of sterile bottles until you remove the lid - that means you can run it overnight and then take the stuff out the next morning and it will still be sterile. In our testing, we found the system very easy to use, reliable, quiet, and versatile. We were impressed with the size of the trays and how many bottles we could fit inside, the integrated sterilizing and drying functions, and the fact that it's about $20 cheaper than the similarly-featured Baby Brezza. For cons, there were some minor things to keep in mind. First, this model produces a lot steam that comes out of the system into the kitchen. So be careful not to slide it back under upper cabinets, or near anything you worry about getting steam on it (like little kids hands). That's not to say the other systems don't also have the same issue, it's just something we noticed more with the Papablic. Second, there were a few times that things weren't completely dry, especially on the top rack, but it was pretty minor. Overall, we think this is an awesome option, and we're happy to feature it on our list! Who else loves the Papablic sterilizer? Our friends at WhatToExpect and The Bump consider it a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Papablic Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer here.
You will be super impressed with the Baby Brezza electric sterilizer - it has versatility, convenience, usability, and reliability, all wrapped up in a package that is relatively compact! And while it is a bit more expensive than most others on this list (at about $100), we think the bang for the buck is definitely there. Let's start with features and then talk about our impressions. This bottle sterilizer isn't just a sterilizer, it also includes a bottle dryer function. That means when you remove your bottles, nipples, and pacifiers from this sterilizer, they will come out completely dry. This helps prevent mildew and mold build-up, and is one of the only sterilizers on the market with the bottle drying function. You can use it either as a sterilizer or dryer, or you can set it to complete both functions one after the other. As a sterilizer and dryer it accomodates up to six bottles and nipples. Of course, this is assuming you're using very narrow bottles (likely a 4 to 6 ounce bottle). With wider bottles, you'll fit about 4 of them (for instance with Comotomo or AVENT bottles). That's pretty good space, meaning that if you have about 4 bottles you use throughout the week, you might be able to get away with using this every couple days. The system functions by way of a wide lower rack and narrower upper rack. The lower rack is where you place the bottles, upside-down, using a series of convenient flexible stems that help hold your bottles in place. There are 12 stems (6 little ones, 6 larger ones). On the upper rack, there are also a series of 6 flexible stems that hold nipples or pacifiers in place. The upper and lower trays pull up and out, which you will need to do to fill the lower water reservoir. The reservoir takes 120mL of water, has a clear MAX fill line, and requires you to use distilled water. If you don't use distilled water, you will end up with all sorts of water stains and deposits in the reservoir - that's the same with all bottle sterilizers, so no surprises there. Once you fill it with water and put the racks back on, and fill it up with bottles and nipples (and anything else - like pacifiers, breast pump parts, etc), then you're ready to turn it on! The sterilizing phase always takes 8 minutes. The drying phase can be set for 30, 45, or 60 minutes. If you press the sterilize and dry button once, it will sterilize and then dry for 45 minutes (the default setting). Pressing the button a couple more times will let you toggle through the three different drying time options. We used it for the 45 minute drying and found that it dried everything perfectly. Note that after drying, the bottles and accessories will stay sterile for up to 24 hours or until you open the lid. Pretty awesome!
In our testing, we found everything easy to use. The controls were intuitive, the rack and lid were easy to pull off and put back on, and the water reservoir was large and super easy to fill. Using our thermometer, we found that the internal temperature during sterilizing reached over 250 degrees F, which is the standard for steam sterilization. Just a couple annoyances. First, we found that the reservoir heating element got discolored after about 5 uses. Second, it was strange how when you press the drying button (or sterilize and dry button) multiple times, it cycles through as 45, 60, then 30 (which is an odd order!) Overall, we think this is a great baby bottle sterilizer that includes a bottle dryer, and it really worked very well with only minor issues. Worth the price? We think so, especially if you like the compact design and don't want to separately hand-dry or leave the bottles on a drying rack after sterilizing them. Who else loves the Baby Brezza sterilizer? Our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, and The Bump consider it a top pick. Interested? You can check out the Baby Brezza Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer here.
Philips AVENT makes some of the best baby bottles on the market, so it makes sense that they'd also make an awesome bottle sterilizer system as well! This system is relatively simple in comparison to many of the other systems on this list, and don't let the 3-in-1 label fool you: it's only a bottle steam sterilizer, and it does not perform any drying function. So unlike the better-rated models on this list, when this system is done sterilizing your bottles and accessories, everything will be wet when you pull it out of the unit. And no, you can't just leave it in there to dry, or things run the risk of getting mildew or mold. You can, however, take off the lid and let the system air out for a few hours. The 3-in-1 sterilizer means that it can be used in three different ways: with both the lower (big) and upper (small) basket, or with only the big basket, or only the small basket. So if you only have a few things, you can use it with just the small area, etc. You get the picture. The lower basket is surprisingly large, though it's not quite tall enough to fit the 8 ounce or 9 ounce Dr. Brown's bottles standing upright. You can fit plenty of wide-mouth bottles, such as 6 Comotomo bottles, or 6 AVENT bottles. But if you're using taller bottles, you'll be able to fit about 4 of them because they'll need to be tilted to the side in order to fit. So this bottle sterilizer is best-suited for people using shorter and/or wide-mouth style bottles. The smaller basket area is also surprisingly roomy, and a great place for putting in a bunch of bottle nipples, caps, pacifiers, and more. Plenty of space, just make sure you put things openings-down so they don't fill up with water during sterilization. Once you get it all filled up, it's a really simple system to use. There is only one button, and that starts the sterilization process, which runs for only 6 minutes! That's a really quick sterilization process, shorter than any other steam sterilizer we've reviewed! And our thermometer showed that it achieved 250 degrees F and maintained it for several minutes, so we're confident that it's doing the trick. Once it's done, if you keep the lid on for 24 hours the contents will remain sterile. They'll also be wet, just FYI, and we wouldn't recommend keeping them in there for more than that or things will start to get a little funky. Like several other models on this list, the AVENT 3in1 sterilizer uses 100mL of water, which is about 3.4 ounces. There is a great YouTube instructional video for how to use this unit, if you're confused at all! Cons? Well, we didn't like that you can't fit taller bottles into the big basket, which was a bit of a bummer. Second, because it doesn't dry, things are really steamy and wet when the sterilizing finishes. Be careful lifting the lid off the unit after it completes because a ton of steam will come out. And be prepared to dry things off (or purchase a drying rack), including not only the contents but also the baskets and lid. Even using distilled water we did get some deposits on the heating element, but they did come off very easily with vinegar - we put some white vinegar and water in there and let it sit for about a half an hour and everything was like new. Keep that in mind for all steam bottle sterilizers: clean the heating element once a week or so with vinegar and it will stay nice and clean. Overall, this is a good and relatively inexpensive (usually under about $40) bottle sterilizer that has some limitations but also some great bang for the buck! Who else recommends the AVENT bottle sterilizer? Our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, and The Bump also consider it a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Philips AVENT 3in1 Baby Bottle Sterilizers here.
Just like Philips AVENT, Dr. Brown's makes some of the best overall baby bottles on the market, so we were excited to try out the Dr. Brown's baby bottle sterilizer system! And we weren't disappointed. This baby bottle sterilizer has some great features and capabilities, including the ability to hold up to 6 Dr. Brown's 8-ounce or 9-ounce bottles! In other words, it's one of the only baby bottle sterilizer systems on our list that is actually big enough in tank and basket height to hold taller baby bottles. It's specifically made for Dr. Brown's bottles with the tall venting tubes, as it has little spots in the basket that will help them stick straight up during sterilization. But that's not to say it doesn't fit other bottles, including the wider mouth bottles too - it does! We were able to fit in 6 of the 8-ounce Comotomo bottles (the larger ones) in without any issues. We were also able to fit in AVENT bottles and every other bottle we tested. Up top, there is a smaller basket that's perfect for holding bottle nipples, pacifiers, and any other little items you need to sterilize (like teething toys). It fits so much stuff because it's pretty big and roomy, which by the way translates to a big appliance that will take up significant counter space; it's not highly recommended for space-efficient kitchens. Operating the sterilizer was pretty simple - you fill up the reservoir with water (preferably distilled to keep it from staining and discoloring), put the lower basket in and fill it up with bottles and anything else you'd like, close the upper basket down (which is like a middle lid) and fill it up with smaller items, and close the top lid. It's all on hinges, which makes it easier not to get confused about which part goes where, but also makes it necessary to fill the bottom basket before the top basket (or risk items in the top basket tipping out or sliding all around). Once you fill the reservoir, fill the baskets, and close the lid, you're ready to go. To start the unit, you simply press the button that looks like a "play" button. The red light will turn on, showing you that it's running. When it's done, it goes through a cool-down period (the blue snowflake light will be on), and then the green check mark will light up showing you that it's completed. Sterilization time is 8 minutes, just like most of the other steam bottle sterilizers on this list. Cool-down time is about 15 minutes. Note that the cool-down phase is not a drying phase - things will come out dripping wet, even after they've cooled down for a while. The inside walls will also be steamy and wet, and you'll need to wipe them down after use. Speaking of steam, most of the steam comes out of a single venting hole on the top lid, so make sure that's away from anything you care about (like the bottom of your cabinets). In our testing, we found that everything worked perfectly: it steam sterilized the bottles very well, it achieved the 250 degrees F standard according to our digital thermometer, and the cool-down cycle was sufficient to make things easily removed without worrying about a plume of steam when you opened the lid, or trying to pick up steaming hot items. It also comes with a couple convenient items, such as plastic tongs to help you pick up hot items without touching them (and possibly getting bacteria on them), and a little water measuring cup that is graduated for measuring the exact amount you need to put into the reservoir before use. You'll probably never use the tongs, unless you're as neurotic as me, or if you're donating pumped milk and need to keep things strictly sterile. This model has a lot of good things going for it. What about the cons? First, it doesn't have a drying cycle, which we prefer to have in any bottle sterilizing system. But that does make it about half the price, coming in at around $50, which makes it a slightly more reasonable purchase relative to the steam sterilizers with drying function. Of course, realize that you might end up buying a drying rack in addition, which might bring the price as high as one of the models with the dryer. Second, because the upper basket and lid are attached by hinges, you can't fill the upper basket before the lower one - everything needs to be done in the correct order. That was only a minor aggravation, along with its large size. Finally, we did get some rusty-looking deposits in the heating element after a couple weeks, but they cleaned out very easily with some white vinegar. Interested? You can check out the Dr. Brown's Deluxe Baby Bottle Sterilizer here.
This bottle sterilizer is most similar in size and function to the Papablic, but has several additional features including cycles for warming milk or food, an easy access lid for bottle warming, and a very powerful 550 watt steamer. It also has a little LCD display to show you the number of minutes in the cycle, and it has multiple cycle times for each function. Out of the box, we found it really easy to setup and start using. This was partly because we're experienced with the similar Papablic, but also because of its intuitive design and controls. It was surprisingly large and does take up quite a bit of counter space, but the trade-off is that you get a massive amount of steaming and drying space. Speaking of which, we were able to fit up to 6 Philips AVENT bottles in the lower (larger) basket space, or 4 Comotomo bottles (they're quite a bit wider). Lids can go in the lower or upper baskets, and we fit the same numbers of them in the upper basket (6 AVENT or 4 Comotomo). Because Dr. Brown's bottles are a bit narrower, they are ideal, and we didn't have any issues fitting six tall bottles in the lower basket. To make the magic happen, you fill the lower reservoir with about 100mL of water (there is a fill line to help), then stack the lower and/or upper baskets onto the unit. Then you simply select the steam sterilize, warm air dry, or warming function. The steaming function takes from 6 to 15 minutes, with the default being 6; once that is completed, the drying cycles take at least 40 minutes (if filling the small basket only) up to 80 minutes (for a full load). The sterilize times were a little vague, but we're assuming the longer cycles are for fuller baskets? The manual didn't specify, and going from 6 to 15 minutes of steaming is a pretty dramatic jump without some guidance. Once it finishes the steam cycle and senses that it's out of water, it automatically begins the lengthy warm air drying cycle. The entire unit gets very hot during both the steam and dry phases, so it's best to keep it well out of reach of children, cabinets, and anything that might melt or catch fire! At the end of the cycles we found that all of the bottles, nipples, and lids were very clean and dry. In addition to sterilizing and drying, we also tried out the bottle warming; for this function, you open one of the top flaps and stick your bottle in. All of the bottles we tested fit right in, though shorter ones or ones with narrower bottoms were a little awkward because they tended to tip over and were hard to pull out at times. It's a clever feature though and we appreciated that this system doubles as a bottle warmer and sterilizer and dryer. Overall, we were impressed with this new addition to our top bottle sterilizers list, and think it's a great option especially given the competitive price (about $70) and extensive features. There were only a few cons, including how much counter space it takes up, how hot it gets, and how vague the instructions are for steaming times and water measurements. But we were happy working around those, and think you will be as well. Interested? You can check out the OMORC 550W Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer here.
Just like Philips AVENT and Dr. Brown's, Tommee Tippee makes some of the most popular baby bottles on the market. So it's no wonder that they also make a great electric baby bottle sterilizer system that fits their bottles perfectly. It also worked quite well in our testing, making it a good contender for our top 10 list. The Tommee Tippee bottles are relatively short and wide, with an hourglass shape that is pretty distinctive. Because they are relatively short, the main basket for this bottle sterilizer is also relatively short, meaning that their own bottles fit perfectly. You can fit up to 5 Closer to Nature bottles in it, or 4 of the Tommee Tippee Ultra bottles, since they're a bit larger. We also found that AVENT and Comotomo bottles fit well, but that anything taller, like the Dr. Brown's 8 or 9 ounce bottles, didn't fit standing up. We had to put any taller bottles tilted to the side, which was unfortunate and likely reduces the sterilization effectiveness given that the steam can't enter directly into the mouth of the bottle. So if you're a user of shorter, wider-mouth bottles, this could definitely be a good option for you. Another unique aspect of this bottle sterilizer is that its steam sterilization process only takes about 5 minutes, which makes it the fastest bottle sterilizer we've seen on the market, making it the best option for quick sterilization. As a reminder the AVENT sterilizer takes 6 minutes, and most others take 8 minutes. During that 5-minute process it does a very effective job at sterilizing, and according to our digital thermometer it reached and maintained the 250-degree (F) threshold required for steam sterilization. So we're confident that even with its relatively short steam cycle, it's doing the trick. And it does it with only about 2.7 ounces (80mL) of water (preferably distilled water), which is very little water relative to most other sterilizers we've tested. Note that Tommee Tippee bottles actually have a little dotted line on them to indicate 80mL (just below the 90mL line), so they're very helpful for filling up the reservoir on this system. Of course, if you're not using Tommee Tippee, you can simply estimate the 2.7 ounces or 80mL of water using just about any baby bottle or glass measuring cup. A nice aspect of the Tommee Tippee relative to the Dr. Brown's is that the entire lid removes, and it's a simple two-piece basket that easily pulls in and out. That means you can load the lower and upper basket areas at the same time, or even the upper one first, without having to worry. It's just a bit simpler to use overall. Speaking of simplicity, we appreciated it only having a single button to start its cycle. Once started, it takes about 5 minutes, and they suggest leaving it in there for another 5 minutes to cool down before opening the lid or removing anything. Like the Dr. Brown's, it comes with a little set of plastic tongs, but it does not come with a water measuring cup. Overall, we found the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Steam Sterilizer easy to use and reliable, and we didn't run into any major issues. Some minor gripes include some rusty-looking deposits on the heating element after a couple weeks (which cleaned off easily with white vinegar), and no drying function which leaves everything dripping wet at the end of the cycle. A bigger annoyance is how it doesn't fit many taller bottles, so it's primarily compatible with Tommee Tippee bottles or those of a similar shape and size. The Dr. Brown's definitely wins out over this one for mostly that last reason. Not to mention that this one is about $20 more expensive than the Dr. Brown's, coming in at about $70, which we think is excessive for not including a bottle drying feature. Interested? You can check out the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle Sterilizer here.
We were super excited to test out this baby bottle sterilizer and dryer because it's completely different from all the others, and offers some super high-tech uses that go way beyond sterilizing baby bottles. In fact, we were so excited that we bought it about 5 months before any of the other ones! This is the only sterilizer on our list that uses UV sterilizer lights to kill 99.9% of bacteria on and inside bottles, pacifiers, nipples, and anything else you put in. We tried it out with not only the usual suspects, but also with other household items that get pretty nasty - our remote controls, cell phones, breast pump parts, bottle brushes, and more! And it was awesome for all of them. It loads very differently than the others on this list, functioning a bit like a refrigerator: you swing open the front door and load up the two racks with all your gear. The top rack has the most space and is nice and tall, plenty tall to fit all of the baby bottles we tried, including the 9 ounce Dr. Brown's bottle. Depending on the width of the bottles, we were able to fit between 6-10 bottles inside. You don't want them to be touching each other (keep them at least a half inch apart from each other), and you don't want them closer than about 1" from the dual UV lights at the top. The bottom rack is more of a basket and can hold all the nipples and pacifiers. Once it's loaded up, you can use one of the three features: sterilize only, sterilize and dry, or dry only. The Wabi Baby touch panel makes it easy to select your desired settings. The UV sterilizing can be done for 5 or 10 minutes, but you basically always want the 10 minutes unless you're only using one rack. The drying can be done for 10, 20, or 40 minutes. If you're doing the full cycle (sterilize and dry) you can choose a total of 30, 50, or 70 minutes. Once you start the cycle, there is a time display on the front, as well as a temperature display to show you how hot it is inside. Once everything is done, you can either remove it or active an optional "storage" setting. The storage setting will turn on the UV light for 1 minute every 2 hours, for up to 4 cycles. That means you can store the items in the sterilizer for up to 8 additional hours while maintaining sterile conditions. In our extended use (about 6 months), we found the system to be very effective. We loved how it could do sterilizing and drying all-in-one, and we also loved the versatility to use it with tons of other household products that might need sterilizing - especially electronics that you could never put into a steam sterilizer. There's also the added benefit relative to steam sterilizers: you never have the issue of a discolored, stained, or otherwise disgusting water reservoir! There are a few cons worth mentioning. First, you need to shake-dry the bottles and other items before putting them in. You must put the bottles neck-up on the rack so that the UV light shines directly down into the bottles; that was a little annoying because it means that water drips down to the bottom of the bottle and sits there until it's dried. So we had little water spots inside the bottom of our bottles. Second, the system is slower than steam sterilizing by at least 2 minutes assuming you are using both top and bottom racks. Third, we had one of our UV bulbs burn out after 3 months, thought the company was quick to send us a free replacement. There are some reviews online suggesting a similar problem. Finally, did we mention the price? It's pretty crazy, coming in at over $250, making it definitely the most expensive bottle sterilization system on this list! Worth it? We'll let you decide. Interested? You can check out the Wabi Baby UV Sterilizer and Dryer here.
If you're looking for a cheap bottle sterilizer system, this is definitely a good place to start! Rather than taking up space on your counter and running through a long electric steam sterilization process, this Munchkin microwave steam sterilizer system is much simpler. As the only model using microwave sterilizing on our list, it's quite simple: all you do is fill the base with 7 ounces of water, put in the basket and fill it with your bottles and other items to be steamed, put the lid on, and pop it in the microwave for 2 to 6 minutes (depending on how powerful your microwave is). As a general rule, most microwaves (850-1000 watts) will require 4 minutes, but if you're using a smaller and weaker microwave (500-800 watts) then it will take 6 minutes, and a more powerful microwave (1100-1850 watts) will take about 2 minutes. In our home microwave, we simply put it on for 5 minutes and it worked pretty well every time. We couldn't use our internal thermometer with this unit to test the temperature, since it probably would have exploded in the microwave or something terrible! But it looked pretty darn steamy and hot in there. In fact, when it was done we couldn't really pull it out of the microwave without using pot holders, so it was definitely getting super hot. It includes tongs to help you pick up the hot items, but it does not include a measuring cup for the water (7 ounces). A couple good things about this microwave baby bottle sterilizer: you don't need to use distilled water, it fits even the tallest Dr. Brown's bottles if you tilt them on their sides, and you can fit a bunch of other stuff in along with 4 bottles. And did we mention that it's not yet another kitchen counter appliance to take up counter space!? That's definitely an added bonus, along with the super approachable price of less than $20. But there are a lot of cons. There are the big obvious ones, like it doesn't include a drying feature, doesn't have a lower and upper rack for added capacity, and it's not as simple as pressing a button and forgetting about it. And then there's the issue of microwaving your baby bottles, which many parents are not interested in doing (for some good reasons). Then there are the relatively minor issues that are unique to this product. We found that the carrying handle on the top was basically useless, and the little blue handles on the sides were too small and awkward to use when getting it out of the microwave. There were some serious burn risks here - one of our testing parents said that she burned her wrist with scalding hot water that leaked from the side of the sterilizer when she was taking it out of the microwave - she said it was hard to balance it with the poor handles and it made her tip it slightly and it spilled water. That was alarming, and we're happy that her baby wasn't nearby! That only happened to one of our reviewer parents, and we didn't have it happen to us, but it's important that you realize it's possible and to be careful when using it. So Munchkin definitely needs to work on their product design a bit - maybe big stable carrying handles on the sides? Maybe a deeper bottom tray to prevent easily tipping water out? We'll leave it up to them to improve on the design in the future. In the meantime, we think this is a great and inexpensive option for parents looking to save counter space and simplify their lives a little bit. But please be careful during use to prevent burns. That same point goes for all of the steam sterilizers on this list - always use caution when handling and opening the devices, as big plumes of steam will escape and possibly injure you. Interested? You can check out the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Steam Sterilizer here.
Note that we also review the Gourmia Jr Steam Sterilizer in our Best Baby Bottle Warmers article, since it includes both a sterilizer and warmer function. In general, it offers some great capability for the price, but is also quite large and cumbersome.