Whether you’re defrosting milk from the freezer or warming up milk or formula from the fridge, a bottle warmer can be a great accessory to speed up this process and make it easier when your hands are full. When a baby nurses, breast milk is body temperature so it makes sense that young babies prefer warm milk over cold milk. Finding the best bottle warmer for you and your baby can help you easily warm up bottles and help prevent overheating mistakes that may occur when other methods are used.
Why You Need One
While there’s no true harm with feeding your little one cold milk, you might still experience an angry cry, possibly followed by an upset tummy. But if your baby isn’t picky, you can serve cold milk from the fridge or frozen milk that’s been thawed overnight. Another alternative is placing the bottle in warm water and allowing it time to slowly heat up. While this method is similarly effective as using a bottle warmer, it may require more of your time and effort. The point of using a bottle warmer is to quickly, safely, effectively, and easily warm up your baby’s bottles with just the push of a button. Plus, it frees up your hands to do other things while the bottle warms up.
Something else to consider: a bottle warmer makes it super easy for all caretakers to heat up milk. While you may have mastered using tap water to heat up the bottle perfectly, your significant other, your parents and other family members, babysitter, or even husband might have difficulty with this task. Getting a bottle warmer that’s easy to use and safe will take all of the guesswork out of making sure the bottle’s temperature is perfect for baby.
You’ll also need a great bottle sterilizer that kills 99.9% of household germs on your baby’s bottles, teethers, and other accessories.
NEVER use a microwave to heat up a bottle. While there are alternatives to using a bottle warmer, a microwave is never a viable option. The microwave creates hot spots in the milk that can scald your child’s mouth, leaving you feeling guilty and making the next several feedings more difficult while their mouth heals.
What to Look For
If you’ve decided to spend the money and get a bottle warmer, here are a few things to take into consideration when shopping:
- Time. Some bottle warmers can take 10+ minutes, while others boast that they work in as little as 90 seconds. When your little one decides they’re hungry NOW, you might not have the time to wait for a bottle to heat up too slowly.
- Should be able to heat up food too. Get more bang for your buck by using the bottle warmer to heat up baby food when your child starts eating solids.
- Compatibility. Whichever warmer you choose, your bottles should obviously fit inside. Look for warmers that aren’t just made for one brand or shape of bottle.
- Ease of use & consistency. Bottle warmers are supposed to make your life easier so you should find that your product is easy to use and consistently heats up your bottles with no issues.
- Compact. Bottle warmers are just one of the seemingly hundreds of baby products and gadgets that you will accumulate for your little one. It shouldn’t take up a ton of counter space and should travel easily for days out at a family member’s house, weekend getaways, or vacations.
Quick Picks: Best Bottle Warmer
How to Use a Bottle Warmer
Each warmer has different controls and methods of heating up bottles. You should thoroughly read the directions and follow them to the tee with each use. Make sure you are also regularly cleaning the device to prevent the build up of mold and other residues.
For when you’re on the go, we recommend a travel bottle warmer. These quickly and efficiently warm a bottle, sometimes without the use of electricity.
And to help you on your bottle feeding journey, use a nursing pillow to help support baby and take the strain off your shoulders and back.
Best Bottle Warmer Reviews
Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Baby Bottle Warmer – Best all Around
“This bottle warmer is truly amazing.” -Avery
This bottle warmer by Dr. Brown’s is consistently on any list of top rated bottle warmers and is our pick for the best all around baby bottle warmer. Their adjustable basket fits all Dr. Brown’s bottles as well as most other bottle brands and the unit uses electric steam heat to quickly warm baby bottles as well as food jars. An easy to use LCD control panel features a one-button start function and easy-touch keypad and produces audio and visual alerts to let you know when the warming cycle is complete. Plus, the unit effectively warms several bottles before water refilling is necessary.
Philips AVENT Baby Bottle Warming Bundle – To Preserve Milk Quality
“LOVE this warmer!” -Laura
The Philips AVENT baby bottle warmer is designed to heat milk slowly in order to preserve the quality – the safe and gentle warming preserves the vitamins and nutrients of milk. Hot spots are prevented because the milk is circulated as its heated. Plus, integrated sensors track and control milk temperature so you can make sure you get a perfectly warmed bottle with each use. There’s multiple warming settings so you can pick the best temperature for your baby and it also includes a defrosting setting and a setting for warming baby food. This bottle warmer is bundled with 4-pack AVENT Natural Baby Bottle as a convenient solution for busy new parents. It takes about 3 minutes to heat a 3-5oz bottle and keeps the bottle at a controlled temperature for 60 minutes before automatically shutting off.
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer and Breast Milk Warmer – Safe & Effective
“This has been a lifesaver! I love this bottle warmer.” -Erica
This bottle warmer by Kiinde uses convective heating instead of steam, a feature that sets it apart from the rest of the warmers reviewed here. The convective heating is uniform, consistent, convenient, and is very fast. There’s no need to measure or add water with each use because it has an onboard reservoir. The Kozii boasts to be universal and is safe and fast for thawing and warming breast milk, formula, or food in glass, metal, plastics, bags, or bottles; it can even thaw and warm frozen breast milk storage bags directly from the freezer. The warming process follows all guidelines set forth by the CDC and USDA to safely warm liquids in a nutrient-safe water bath with a built in timer to eliminate the risk of overheating.
“Love it. Works perfectly.” – Terry
Don’t let the baby wait and cry! This high speed bottle warmer saves precious time by warming a bottle in as little as 90 seconds. The convenient measuring cup measures the right amount of water for consistent warming and no guesswork when it comes to refilling the reservoir. The system uses steam to heat milk and food quickly and evenly and helps prevents loss of nutrients. An alarm sounds and the unit automatically shuts off when ready. Plus, an adapter ring helps warm smaller bottles or jar of baby food. Fast and easy to use with no clean up required.
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer – Affordability
“This bottle warmer works great!” -Maggie
The First Years Quick Serve bottle warmer is our pick for being a more affordable bottle warmer. It works with most wide, narrow, angled, and even disposable bottles and is BPA free. It automatically shuts off after effectively warming breast milk, formula, and baby food jars in just minutes. It offers an effective way to warm up bottles but because of the price it does lack most of the popular features seen in other bottle warmers. The compact size makes it great for travel and it also is able to sterilize pacifiers with the included basket.
Our overall pick for best bottle warmer is the Dr. Brown’s because of its ease of use and great features for the price. The Philips AVENT is great as well, but came in second because of the time it takes to heat up a bottle. That being said, the Philips is great for preserving top notch milk quality and nutrients with the slow heating process. The Kiinde Kozii has lots of safety features that eliminate the risk of overheating the bottles and Munchkin is the quickest bottle warmer on the list – it can warm a bottle in as little as 90 seconds. When it comes to price, none of them beat The First Years bottle warmer. It’s quick and effective, but because of its price point, it’s missing out on the some of the best features of the other warmers.
In the end, you have to pick the best baby bottle warmer for you and your family’s needs. Each warmer has different features and heating methods, each with their own pros and cons. With so many options out on the market, we’re sure you’ll find a safe and effective bottle warmer that meets your needs and make warming bottles and baby food a breeze.
Note: don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle – it increases the risk for ear infections and bottle caries. When it’s time to start night weaning, read our complete guide: night weaning 101.