Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer Reviews in 2018
Your baby’s health and protection are incredibly important. You may have already taken steps to baby-proof your home. That’s good, but have you thought about your baby’s bottles? Many parents mistakenly believe that washing bottles and nipples with warm, soapy water are enough. Unfortunately, it’s not, which is why it’s so essential to invest in a bottle sterilizer. They not only protect your baby from potentially fatal illnesses, they also save you tons of time. And when you’re running on only a few hours’ sleep, that’s a big deal.
Why a Bottle Sterilizer is So Necessary
Even with meticulous washing, microorganisms can lurk in the tiny places that soap and brushes can’t reach. For adults, this isn’t too important. But for babies in the first year or two of life, this can be deadly. Their little bodies haven’t yet developed a strong and fully functioning immune system that can properly fight off any number of illnesses and chronic infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis and thrush, which is why hospitals routinely use sterilizers.
Protecting your baby from illness is so important. Too early of exposure to certain microorganisms kills thousands of children every year, but you can prevent this from happening to your child simply by sterilizing your baby’s bottles every day.
How Do Bottle Sterilizer Work?
Bottle sterilizers come in many shapes and sizes, and some even have a separate bottle warmer included. But when it comes to sterilizing, however, they all function the same way.
In electric sterilizers, a basin in the bottom of the machine is filled with water that is heated with a metal element, which creates steam. The steam fills a closed chamber in which the bottles and accessories are placed upside down. During a certain length of time, which varies between brands and models, the steam kills the microorganisms. With most models, once the steam is completed the bottles have to be taken out to air dry. Certain bottle sterilizers have dryers, but this is a feature that costs extra.
One or more separate trays allow you to also sterilize other items such as nipples, pacifiers, breast pump parts, and even plates, utensils, and small toys. Some parents even use it to sterilize nebulizer parts. Basically anything your baby puts in his mouth can be put in the sterilizer as long as it fits. Most trays can be removed to help you get the bottles out for drying and to make cleaning easier.
Remember, since you’re dealing with hot steam, always use tongs to remove anything you’ve put into the sterilizer so you don’t get burned. Some models have tongs included, but if yours doesn’t be sure to get one.
Though it is a time saver, what’s most important is that your machine fully sterilizes what you put in it. Protecting your baby from harmful microorganisms is always the primary goal, so be sure to choose a sterilizer that guarantees it kills at least 99.9% of germs every time you use it.
Normal Things You Can Expect from a Bottle Sterilizer
Like any machine, there are certain things to expect that are completely normal even though they may be undesirable. Here are four of the more common ones you should know.
It’s Not a Dishwasher
It’s important to remember that a bottle sterilizer is a sterilizing machine, not a dishwasher. It’s not always good at removing dried-on milk and thick, sticky globs of formula. So you should clean your bottles and accessories before you put them in, which is a good idea anyway so that the sterilizer can be more effective.
It Has to Use Water
Since the sterilizer uses water to steam everything, you should expect that your bottles and accessories will be wet when the machine has finished its cycle. Keep a towel nearby that you can lay the equipment on for air drying. Of course, if you buy a sterilizer that has a dryer included then you shouldn’t have this problem, but usually air drying works just fine for most parents.
It’s Not Rust
Just like your washing machine and dishwasher, a bottle sterilizer has to be cleaned to remove any built-up mineral residue. Many parents mistakenly assume that the build-up is rust because of its color. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions carefully to prevent it, or simply clean with vinegar once a week.
The Kind of Water Matters
Ideally, you should use distilled water to prevent mineral build-up, though some users have said their filtered refrigerator water or bottled nursery water work better. Decide for yourself, but distilled water ought to be good enough to prevent any build-up or at least keep it at a minimum.
An electric bottle sterilizer is a must-have for any parent with newborns and young babies. It will save you an amazing amount of time, which is great when you’re getting by on very little sleep. Plus, it will give you peace of mind knowing that your baby is healthy and protected from any harmful contaminants.
Features to Consider When Buying a Bottle Sterilizer
Though all bottle sterilizers function the same way, they each have special features you should consider before buying.
A Removable Tray
Most models have removable trays you can keep your bottles in while they air dry, which is quite handy. To make your life easier, be sure there’s a removable tray to hold small items such as nipples, pacifiers, and breast pump parts. Sometimes the accessory tray height can also be adjusted to accommodate tall bottles or infant plates, utensils, and small toys. Check to see if the one you like has this ability.
Most bottle sterilizers will hold six bottles, which is fine for most parents. But if you have twins or triplets, you need a sterilizer that can hold as many bottles as possible. The bigger space means that you should also be able to fit in smaller items. You should be able to fit in bottles of varying shapes and sizes from a variety of makers and not just the ones made by the same company as the sterilizer.
A good bottle sterilizer is designed to shoot steam directly and deeply into the bottles for a better cleaning and assurance that the bottles are truly sterilized. You can see this by how tall the posts are that the bottles sit on, so take a close look.
Not all sterilizers have the same length of steam time. Times can range anywhere from five to 15 minutes depending on the machine. Choose the one that best suits your lifestyle, but remember that faster isn’t always necessarily better.
Easy Water Refill
You should be able to easily refill the basin with water before every use as necessary, even if your bottles have already been loaded. Since you’ll be using it so often, consider how this works in the model you have your eye on. Check also if it has a water level indicator. This can be a huge feature for sleepy parents.
Adapts to Foreign Currency
No, not money. Voltage! A small portion of models has dual voltage, which means they are capable of being used in countries outside of the United States. If they can’t, they may be compatible with a universal adapter. Many travel-savvy parents will appreciate a sterilizer that has this feature. Be on the lookout for this extra-special ability if this is something you need.
Five Best Bottle Sterilizer
For sleep-deprived parents who care about their baby’s health, a bottle sterilizer is a must. Here are the top five we determined are the best with one we believe outperforms the others.
The First Years Power of Steam Electric Steam Sterilizer
The First Years bottle sterilizer has Steam Tower Technology so the steam is directed into each bottle for more thorough sterilization. A built-in drying rack is included along with removable trays so you can air-dry bottles and small items. Holds 6 bottles including tall ones when the middle tray is removed. Its sterilization cycles are super quick- only 5 minutes to heat up and 5 minutes to cool down. All parts BPA and PCV free. A dryer is not included. Water tends to accumulate in the bottom of the machine instead of draining into the basin, which prevents the bottles from drying efficiently and can create a small mess to clean up after each use. Still, it sterilizes very well, and many moms appreciate the quick steam and cool-down times. The warranty is extremely limited, so if you experience a problem it’s important to call the manufacturer immediately.
Philipp’s AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer
The AVENT 3-in-1 sterilizer has three load capacities to choose from: a small configuration for pacifiers and nipples, a medium configuration for breast pump parts and small bottles, and a large configuration for 6- 11 oz. bottles, plates, utensils, and small toys. It has a quick six-minute cycle with automatic shut-off so you don’t have to set a timer to do it yourself. It kills 99.9% of harmful germs and items stay sterile for up to 24 hours as long as the lid stays closed. Be aware that it needs 10 minutes after every cycle to completely cool down before a new cycle can begin. Tongs are included for safety. Tray heights are adjustable so you customize it to your needs. Philipp’s offer an incredible two-year warranty, which is great in case anything should go wrong even after you’ve been using it for a while.
Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Sterilizer
The Tommee Tippee sterilizer holds six Closer to Nature bottles, which are specifically designed to reduce the chance of your baby having colic. You can also steam bottle accessories and other small items such as nipples and pacifiers. This sterilizer kills 99.9% of harmful germs in 5 quick minutes and keeps items sterile for up to 24 hours with an unopened lid. A nice feature is that the lid also flips over to double as a prep surface for sterile bottles so you don’t have to worry about any bottles suddenly tipping over. This sterilizer comes complete with 2-5 oz. bonus Closer to Nature bottles, 1 formula dispenser, and tongs. All machine parts are BPA and phthalate free. Though it is mainly designed for its own bottles and it doesn’t have a removable tray, this is a great sterilizer with many great features any mom would love.
Baby Breeza Sterilizer Dryer
The Baby Breeza quickly sterilizes and dries all your bottles and accessories in only 8 minutes. Plus, you have three choices of drying times: 30, 45, or 60 minutes. You also have a nice choice of three functions: sterilize only, sterilize and dry, or dry only. Like other sterilizers, the Baby Breeza kills 99.9% of germs and keeps items sterile up to 24 hours with an unopened lid. It can hold up to 6 bottles of any brand or size and a bottle storage rack is included. Backlighting on the control panel changes color to indicate if more water is needed before beginning a cycle, which is great for sleep-deprived parents. Because it fully dries, it’s excellent for families living in humid climates. Its affordable price along with its many features makes the Baby Breeza possibly the best sterilizer/dryer you can buy. And it comes with a 1-year warranty.
Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer
Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer is newly redesigned to sterilize six bottles of any brand or size plus accessories in just 12 minutes. Cycle indicators tell you which step of the process is happening so you always know what’s going on. It also has an automatic shut-off feature, which surprisingly isn’t always common, so you don’t have to remember to check on it or be nervous about leaving it alone. A removable basket uniquely positions the bottles so steam reaches directly and deeply into each bottle for thorough sterilization. A built-in tray holds all your accessories plus other small items your baby uses. Another unique feature is that the element is designed to resist mineral deposits, making cleaning easier and less maintenance intensive. Tongs and a measuring cup are included. Dr. Brown’s has been making great products for years and their bottle sterilizer is no different.
Our Favorite Baby Bottle Sterilizer
When you’re a sleep-deprived parent with little time to clean but you know that safety is paramount, a baby bottle sterilizer is a life saver. Many models are very effective at killing harmful germs, but if you have the means we recommend getting a sterilizer with a dryer like the Baby Breeza Sterilizer Dryer. The Baby Breeza is the winner here because of its incredible range of drying time options and function choices to suit your needs. Backlighting on the control panel that alerts you when there is not enough water is handy for tired parents, although cycle indicators would be nice. Sterilizing times are average when compared to other brands, but you have the assurance that its steam action will kill most if not all harmful microorganisms, keeping your baby safe from disease. Having a sterilizer with a dryer does cost a little more than sterilizers alone, but when you’re short on time and sleep you’ll be glad you have the Baby Breeza Sterilizer Dryer.