Dealing with breast milk or formula can be complicated and, frankly, sometimes really annoying. You make that perfect bottle for your baby, and within 15 minutes it's no longer warm and your little one refuses to drink! So you pop the bottle in the microwave, but then it's too hot and you fear having plastic chemicals leaching into the milk. Since the 1990's there has been a great solution for all of this: the baby bottle warmer.
Our hands-on reviews of baby bottle warmers found several excellent options for parents looking for reliability, safety, portability, versatility, and reasonable cost. To see more details about the factors we used when finding the best baby bottle warmers on the market, scroll down to the bottom of this article.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. First Years Night Cravings Bottle Warmer|
|#2. Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer|
|#3. Dr. Brown's Baby Bottle Warmer|
|#4. Philips AVENT Fast Bottle Warmer|
|#5. Tommee Tippee Baby Bottle Warmer|
The Best Bottle Warmers of 2018!
This is the best overall baby bottle warmer of the year, with some great features, high reliability, and a nice price point around $25. This system couples a bottle warmer on the front that heats and steams a little pot of water that you lower the bottle into, with a little cooler on the back that can fit 2 bottles. For the bottle warming aspect, we think this does the best job overall. Because it uses a little water pot rather than a complicated reservoir-based steaming system, it doesn't have the issue of slimy and gunky tubes and reservoirs to take care of. It heats up the water that surrounds the bottle. You use one of the little vials hanging on the side to add some tap water into the pot: you add water up to the lower or upper fill line depending on whether you're heating a bottle with 4 ounces or 8 ounces of milk. The vials are a nice touch because you can fill them before the night, then you won't be stumbling in the dark trying to fill to the proper line. Once you add the water and rest the bottle inside, just press the button on the front. The button has a light that will turn off when the bottle is ready. In our tests, when taking a plastic bottle of 4 ounces of mixed formula from our refrigerator and placing it in the warmer, when it was finished it came out at around 99.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which was pretty good. That temperature did vary a bit though, depending on whether we used glass bottles (those came out hotter), or thicker or thinner plastic bottles. So the bottle warming aspect worked like a champ, and we love the simplicity of the concept and not having to clean any steam reservoirs or tubes. We also loved how all of our bottles, both narrow and wide, fit nicely into this bottle warmer. We tested it with Comotomo, Tommee Tippee, and Dr. Brown's bottles. With this system, you also get an insert for warming baby food, which we never used, and a little cooler on the back. There is basically an ice pack that you can cool in your freezer then place in the cooler unit. Then you can put in 2 bottles and close it up, and maybe bring it with you on errands? We found the best use for this was at night: in the evening, place one or two bottles in the cooler with the frozen ice pack, and then when you get up in the middle of the night for a feeding they are ready to go right next to the warmer. A bit easier than having to open the refrigerator and find the bottle in the middle of the night. At first we didn't really see the added utility of the cooler on the back, but over time we got used to it and actually thought it was handy for night-time feeding. Overall, this is an excellent bottle warmer with the added feature of the cooler on the back, which you may or may not end up using. Interested? You can check out the First Years Night Cravings Bottle Warmer here.
This (relatively expensive) bottle warmer is unique in comparison to the other ones on our list, as it uses a different filling and heating technique. For this system, you fill up a reservoir underneath the warming pot, and then when you turn it on, the water level rises up to surround the bottle. This is an interesting setup because it doesn't require filling a reservoir on the side and relying on tubes and other mechanisms to store and move the water, so there is less risk of things getting disgusting over the course of a few days. However, we wouldn't leave that water sitting down in the reservoir without using it for over 24 hours, as it's likely to get a little funky down there. To be fair, the water never comes in contact with the formula or breast milk, only the side of the bottle, so maybe we're just being paranoid. In any event, this system uses a knob with multiple time settings ranging from 1 to 15. To figure out how many minutes you actually need to heat your bottle for, they include a handy little chart (which we copied below). Basically, you're looking at 5-8 minutes to warm a 4-8 ounce bottle, which is right on par with the other systems on this list. We made a big mistake when using this system, however, that we want you to avoid! We made the mistake of pulling a bottle out after a couple of minutes to check its temperature. What happens when you pull it out early is that the system thinks the water level is too low and starts to pump more water into the pot. Then, when you put the bottle back in, the entire systems over-flows onto the counter. That was annoying and a little dangerous given that it's really hot water, nevermind it's also an electrical device. Overall, this is a pretty great bottle warmer, save for some little issues. We still prefer a system that requires adding a bit of water each time, rather than a system using any type of reservoir. Interested? You can check out the Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer here.
We only recently got our hands on this Dr. Brown's baby bottle warmer for testing in mid 2018, and we were excited to give it a try. It's one of the few baby bottle warmers on the market that can fit the tall Dr. Brown's glass baby bottles (see our list of best baby bottles here!). Using an adjustable bottom basket, it can fit both those really tall and narrow bottles, but also wide mouth bottles, and even jars of baby food. In our testing, however, it couldn't fit some of the really fat bottles, like the Tommee Tippee or Comotomo. With a design a little like a Keurig, the Dr. Brown's has a small refillable water reservoir on the side that holds enough water for about 5-6 bottle warmings. That's a nice touch, allowing you to fill it up once every few days rather than having to fill and empty every time you use it like some of the others that are lower down on this list. However, like we mentioned earlier, any bottle warmer with a reservoir system can be difficult to clean. In our testing, we found it to be super fast at warming bottles from the refrigerator or freezer. Out of the fridge, a 5-ounce bottle took about 3-4 minutes to warm up, and out of the freezer it took about 6-7 minutes. Another feature we liked is that it remembers the last setting you used - so if the last time you warmed for 4 minutes, it will default to that setting the next time you turn it on. So that's pretty convenient. But in our testing, we found that the warming was sometimes unreliable. In some cases we'd get a bottle that was still too cold, and in others it would be too hot, even when warming for the same amount of time and using bottles that were stored in the refrigerator for the same amount of time. So that got frustrating. We also found that this unit can build up scum in the bottom basket faster than many other units we tested, but realistically this is to be expected with any unit unless you're cleaning it out every couple days (which we suggest doing). So overall, this is a great bottle warmer, save for some little issues. But for only about $35 online, we are willing to deal with the drawbacks. Interested? You can check out the Dr. Brown's Baby Bottle Warmer here.
This is a very similar concept to the First Years baby bottle warmer, but it does not include the cooler capability on the back. Like the First Years, it uses a little pot for warming up the bottle, rather than using steam, making it much easier to clean and maintain. In our tests, the pot worked really well for warming up bottles of formula or breast milk, and we never had any issues of the milk being too cool or hot after warming. To use the system, you place the baby bottle into the pot and then add enough water to fill ther reservoir up to the same level as the level of milk in the bottle. If the bottle is completely full, you can fill the reservoir up to about 1 cm below the top of the reservoir. It has different heat settings based on how much milk is in the bottle. To warm 4 ounces of refrigerated milk, we put it on the first setting and it took about 4 minutes to get it to the proper baby milk temperature (we checked it with a thermometer). To warm a larger 8 ounce bottle of milk, it took about 7 minutes on the high setting. When you turn it on, the light turns orange. But you need to pay attention to it, as the system has no auto-off function when it's done. Instead you need to read the chart in their owner's manual to figure out how long to warm the bottle. So this baby bottle warmer is pretty simple and basic, it has no timer or auto-off function, and only a couple settings for warming. But it's also cheap, coming in at around $35, so maybe that makes up for the lack of features. By the way, we found that this particular bottle wamer was able to fit our widest Tommee Tippee and Comotomo baby bottles, which was awesome. So you're getting a pretty versatile bottle warmer that is a bit short on features. Overall, pretty good for the price, but not great.
This bottle warmer uses an entirely difference concept than the other ones on our list, and it is specifically designed for travel. You don't need to plug it in, and it's highly portable, fitting nicely into a diaper bag or large purse without any issues. When we first received it, we thought it seemed really complicated, but then realized it's actually very simple. The system comes with three parts: a stainless steel thermos, a thermos cap, and a opaque plastic water reservoir. Here's how you use it: you fill the thermos with boiling water and close the lid. Then, you slide the plastic reservoir over the top of the thermos and screw it on. Pop it into your diaper bag or car, and go about your day's adventure. When you're ready to feed your baby, dump the thermos into the plastic reservoir to make a pot of hot water. Take your Tommee Tippee bottle (or your bottle brand of choice, it is wide enough for basically anything!) of breast milk or formula and stick it into the pot of hot water. Wait about 3-4 minutes and you will find that your bottle of milk is at a very nice temperature for feeding. We tried it out after a couple of hours, and then we tried it after about 11 hours of the water being in the thermos... it was still quite hot, and still worked like a charm. A couple downfalls: first, you need to bring a bottle of milk separately wherever you're going, probably in a cooler pouch. Second, it's bigger than we thought it would be, and doesn't fit in the car cup-holder (too wide). Third, any time you're dealing with very hot water there is a risk of burns, so be careful! Note that the plastic reservoir that you put the hot water into when you're ready to warm the bottle gets very hot, so have a flat surface to put it on without needing to hold it up. Overall, this is a great travel option with some small limitations. Cheap too, coming in usually around $15 or so.
This basically a cheaper and simpler version of our #1 rated bottle warmer. Coming in at only around $15, this does the job when you want a quick and easy bottle warmer. Like the #1 version, it uses the measuring vials to add the right amount of water to the pot, includes a baby food warming attachment, and uses a one-button operation. It also fits most bottles, both wide and tall, but we did manage to get a short/wide Tommee Tippee bottle stuck down in it, which was a little challenging to get out. In contrast, an excessively thin and tall bottle will cause the steam to escape a lot from the sides, making it difficult to reach in to touch-test or swirl your bottle without getting your hand into hot steam. Not quite as reliable or consistent as the bottle warmer on the #1 version of the First Years warmer. For about the same money, we suggest going for the Goloho. But if you need an inexpensive solution that does a pretty reasonable job, this is a great bet.
We are usually very hesitant to put newly released products on our lists, mostly because we can't be certain about long-term reliability. We put this brand new Babebay bottle warmer to the test earlier this year, and were very impressed. This is the only bottle warmer on this list that also functions as a bottle sterilizer, which is a nice touch. All three functionalities, bottle warmer and sterilizer, and food warmer, work really nicely. You fill the reservoir with about 200-300mL of water (just over a cup), and place in up to two bottles. The bottles can be tall and narrow (like the Dr. Brown's), short and fat (like the Joovy), or anywhere in between and they all fit into the warmer thanks to the wide base and tall lid. In our testing, we found that the more water you put in the reservoir, the longer it takes to heat the milk. With 200mL of water it took about 5-6 minutes to heat a plastic or glass bottle from room temperature up to about 100 degrees F. Sterilizing boils the water in the reservoir to create steam and kill bacteria from nipples and bottles. The food warming aspect is pretty clever: you flip the lid over and use it as a food bowl that fits perfectly into the reservoir; works nicely for purees, and gives a nice gradual heating rather than the suddenly-hot effect we find in the microwave. Overall, we found the device really easy to use, very simple and easy to clean, fast and efficient with water use. But there were also some downfalls. First, we're not sure about the long-term reliability, as this product appears to be mass-produced and sold under several different brand names. That's usually a bad sign, as it dilutes responsibility for product warranty, as one of the 5 brands will suddenly disappear and you might be stuck with a faulty product. Second, the power/status light on the knob was very dim and difficult to see for understanding when it was ready (green) or still heating (red). Finally, we didn't have this issue but there have been reports that the power management in this device isn't so great, and will blow fuses/circuits in older houses. In any event, we're going to give this the test of time and see how it goes. You never know, it might make its way higher on our list!
Here are some more details about how we found the best bottle warmers of the year!
Types of Bottle Warmers: There are three main types of baby bottle warmers. First, there is the typical home bottle warmer system that sits on your kitchen counter and uses steam to warm up your baby bottle. Second, there is the home bottle warmer system that involves heating a pot of water that your bottle sits in. Third, there is the travel bottle warmer that either plugs into your vehicle or relies on a thermos that you fill with hot water in the morning. Most parents buy the second and third options, to have the flexibility of a home bottle warmer and travel bottle warmer.
What to Look For: There are some very typical complaints about many baby bottle warmers. First, many of the bottle warmers that use steam have a reservoir that you fill with water (like a Keurig), and parents report that those tend to get pretty disgusting and slimy/moldy if they are not cleaned every few days. We suggest using the type that involves placing water into a little pot and then placing the bottle in with it; then you have no reservoir and tubes to get all gunked up. Second, heating a bottle full of milk is a tricky problem, because you want the bottle to be just a bit higher than the baby's body temperature (about 98.5 degrees fahrenheit, or 37 degrees celsius). Many warmers will over-heat the milk and then you have to wait again for it to cool down. This happens a lot when you're warming a bottle that is filled to a level that doesn't fit the warmer's settings (usually they have a couple options, like 4oz or 8oz). No matter which bottle warming technique you're using, to reduce the risk of burns always check the temperature of the warmed milk (we like to drip some on our forearm/underside of wrist) before feeding your baby. Finally, many bottle warmers tend to cater to the tall and narrow style of bottle. For instance, you can have a hard time fitting wide bottles (like a Tommee Tippee) into a Goloho bottle warmer, because the heating pot on the Goloho is just too narrow. So we suggest getting a warmer that will fit a variety of bottle dimensions; you will find that sometimes it takes trying several baby bottles and nipples before finding the best one (see our list of the best ones here), so you want to have flexibility in which ones will fit your new bottle warmer.
To make our best baby bottle warmer list, we ended up testing the 8 most popular bottle warmers on the market right now.