The Best Bottle Sterilizers to Keep Feeding Time Germ-Free
Having a little one at home means becoming familiar with a whole new world of products, gadgets and protocols—and you’ve likely come across bottle sanitizers while reading up on baby gear. And while soap and water get the job done for the majority of cleanings, some parents find that a bottle sterilizer adds another layer of reassurance for cleanliness.
The best bottle sterilizers make the process of cleaning baby’s bottles easy while tackling a slew of germs and bacteria that you don’t want to wind up in your little one’s mouth. Interested in going the bottle sterilizer route? Keep scrolling for more on what to look for in these handy tools, then shop our top picks.
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Sterilizing bottles and other items that find their way into baby’s mouth (in other words, everything) might seem like one of those steps you can skip—and since the majority of developed countries use treated municipal water, washing with warm, soapy water (or popping them in the dishwasher) after each use usually does the trick, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Gina Posner, MD, a board-certified pediatrician in Fountain Valley, California, concurs, noting that while sterilization is better for premature babies, for most feedings using a sterilizer is about the comfort of an extra level of cleanliness. “But soap and water is just fine too,” she adds.
Music to a tired parent’s ears, right? But don’t write off bottle sterilizers just yet.
Taking the extra effort to make bottles, feeding parts and toys germ- and bacteria-free is still important—especially for babies who were born prematurely or are younger than 2 months, have a weakened immune system or were recently sick, according to the CDC. Even if those criteria don’t apply to your little one, sanitizing is never a bad idea—and with any of these 10 top-of-the-line bottle sterilizers, it’s easier than ever.
Before you start shopping around for the best bottle sterilizer, it’s important to understand what qualifies as sterilizing (spoiler alert: It’s not just cleaning with extra-hot water), as well as the different sterilization methods.
Washing a bottle with soap and water after a feeding is great for getting it clean, but it won’t rid them of household germs and bacteria the way that sterilizing does. To get a fully sterile bottle, you can boil it for five minutes or pop it into the dishwasher if you have one that uses hot water and a heated drying cycle. Otherwise, you’ll want to buy a top-notch bottle sterilizer.
There’s more than one way to get baby’s bottles clean with the help of a sterilizer. Consider these different types:
Electric steam. Countertop bottle sterilizers harness the power of electric steam and reach temperatures higher than boiling water to eradicate germs and bacteria. They tend to be the quickest and easiest option, especially if you plan on sterilizing items frequently.
Microwave steam. Microwave bottle sterilizers also use the power of steam, but are a great choice for those who are tight on space or looking for an affordable alternative to electric steam sterilizers.
UV light. Ultraviolet light disinfection is widely used in the dental, medical and pharmaceutical fields and kills bacteria and germs by altering their chromosomes and preventing cell division. Bottle sterilizers are beginning to incorporate this effective, high-tech method, which—bonus!—eliminates the mess of steam sterilization.
Now that you know the ins and outs of sterilizing, you can decide which method is most appropriate for your family and pick a bottle sterilizer accordingly. Need some helpful hints? We’ve rounded up the best bottle sterilizers for every need.
Let’s be honest: Baby gear isn’t always the prettiest to look at, so when an item combines high design with high function, parents can’t help but drool. That’s how we (and judging by the more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, many other parents) feel about the Baby Brezza One Step Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer. Just like its name indicates, it both sterilizes and dries bottles of any size, as well as other small parts. It offers four different functions from an easy-to-use control panel: sterilize only, dry only, sterilize and dry or plain ol’ storage. You can even choose your drying time. Plus, this bottle sterilizer manages to not be a total eyesore, with a modern design that you won’t mind displaying on your countertop. A win-win-win in our book.
Type: Electric | Dimensions: 11.5" (L) x 11.5" (W) x 16.5" (H) | Capacity: 6 bottles
- Generous capacity
- Your choice of drying times
- Sleek look
- Noticeable steam comes out the top
Oh, Wabi Baby, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: This bottle sterilizer and dryer combo holds up to eight bottles and other small parts, and comes with a separate tray for plates, bowls and utensils for when baby graduates to solids. It offers three different functions with the simple touch of a button: sterilizing (in as little as eight minutes), drying (leaving bottles condensation-free and ready for use) and descaling (taking care of hard water and calcium deposits, a common issue with steam bottle sterilizers). Plus, with its sleek and simple design, you won’t even mind losing a foot of counter space to it.
Type: Electric | Dimensions: 12" (L) x 9.5" (W) x 14" (H) | Capacity: 8 bottles
- Sterilizes quickly
- Large capacity
- Built-in descaler
- Too large for some
Baby gear that multitasks deserves all the heart-eyes, which is why we adore this three-in-one device from Beaba. It serves as a bottle warmer, steam bottle sterilizer and baby food heater in one easy-to-use design (just turn a dial to select the desired function)—saving you time, space and money. In other words, what’s not to love?
Type: Electric | Dimensions: 5" (L) x 5" (W) x 11" (H) | Capacity: 1 bottle
- Works fast
- Easy temperature control
- Small capacity
Parents love Dr. Brown’s bottles for its anti-colic and gas-reducing design, but that kind of effectiveness means a lot of extra parts to clean. Thankfully, Dr. Brown’s Microwave Steam Sterilizer is specifically designed to hold all those extra parts and up to four bottles in a custom tray, getting them germ- and bacteria-free in just minutes. Even if you don’t use Dr. Brown’s brand bottles, this microwave bottle sterilizer holds both standard and wide-neck (as well as small and tall) bottles, comes with tongs to remove the sanitized items for drying (to protect you from burns and the bottles from contamination) and works in just five minutes.
Type: Microwave | Dimensions: 10.5" (L) x 10.5" (W) x 6.7" (H) | Capacity: 4 bottles
- Works on a range of bottle sizes
- Tongs included
- May need to hand-dry bottles afterward
- Not roomy enough for large batches
Sterilization with UV light is widely used across the medical and pharmaceutical fields, but is still relatively rare in the world of bottle sterilization—primarily because these units tend to be expensive. But if you’re looking for a high-tech, mess-free way to keep your bottles free of ickiness, UV light is the way to go. The Wabi Baby UV Sterilizer and Dryer earns our top vote in this emerging category. It sanitizes and dries in as little as 30 minutes (with a countdown display to let you know exactly how much time remains on a cycle), has a wide-opening front door for easy access to your bottles and parts, powers down automatically for safety and energy purposes and works on more than just baby items (you can even throw your phone in there). This bottle sanitizer doesn’t come cheap, but it does pack a big punch.
Type: UV | Dimensions: 13.8" (L) x 11.5" (W) x 16.5" (H) | Capacity: N/A
- Works on more than baby bottles
- Countdown display
- Sanitizes quickly
- Pacifiers can’t go on bottom shelf
If cleaning six bottles in five minutes isn’t enough to sell you on the Tommee Tippee Supersteam Electric Steam Sterilizer, there are plenty of other features to praise. It zaps 99.9 percent of bacteria and keeps things sterile for a full 24 hours (so long as the lid stays closed), meaning you can switch it on at night and wake up to sparkling bottles. Plus, the two-tier tray even doubles as a drying rack!
Type: Electric | Dimensions: 13.8" (L) x 9" (W) x 10.7" (H) | Capacity: 6 bottles
- Large capacity
- Long sterility period
- Compact design
- Owners with hard water may need to descale it regularly
When you have a hungry baby on your hands and zero bottles ready, you can quickly find yourself (and your child) in meltdown mode. And when you’re away from home, that only adds to the stress. The Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer comes to the rescue by providing a sterile bottle in just two minutes flat, one of the fastest sterilization times available (while still eradicating 99.9 percent of household germs and bacteria). But even better, this lightweight sterilizer clocks in at just over 1.5 lbs. and the compact design takes up less than a foot of space, making it extremely suitcase-friendly.
Type: Microwave | Dimensions: 11" (L) x 11" (W) x 6.5" (H) | Capacity: 4 bottles
- Sterilizes quickly
- Taller bottles may not fit
- May not dry all bottle types
Families who are tight on space (or moms who pump at work) will appreciate the convenience of the Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam Bags. Not only are these bags beyond easy to transport (each is roughly the size of a large Ziploc bag), they’re equally simple to use: Load up each bag with breast pump parts, bottles, nipples, pacifiers and more, add water and microwave for just three minutes to kill 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. Plus, since each bag can be reused up to 20 times, these bags are not only quick and convenient but cost-effective as well.
Type: Microwave | Dimensions: N/A | Capacity: 1 bottle
- Sanitizes quickly
- No drying cycle
- Hard to clean more than one bottle at a time
Parents of multiples have, well, multiple reasons for needing a quality bottle sterilizer. Not only are multiples more likely to be born premature (making sterilization especially important), but twins, triplets and the like require extras of everything—including baby bottles. Enter the Papablic 6-in-1 Baby Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer Pro, which comes ready to take on all those bottles (as well as nipples, pacifiers and teethers) in one fell swoop. With space to hold up to 13 bottles (the largest on the market we’ve found), the Papablic 6-in-1 Baby Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer Pro also has modes for heating baby food and dehydrating fruits and vegetables—this mammoth machine can do it all!
Type: Electric | Dimensions: 10.4" (L) x 9.8" (W) x 13.4" (H) | Capacity: 13 bottles
- Large capacity
- Cleans quickly
- Easy to use
- Requires solid counterspace
- No reminder to add water
Thousands of parents rave about the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer—it has over 3,000 five-star ratings on Amazon alone—and it’s pretty easy to see why. The simple, no-frills design gets the job done fast, sterilizing up to four bottles and two breast pump shields at once in just a few minutes in the microwave. It’s perfect for parents who want the benefits of a bottle sanitizer but don’t want to spend a lot or give up counter space.
Type: Microwave | Dimensions: 12.5" (L) x 11.3" (W) x 6.7" (H) | Capacity: 4 bottles
- Works fast
- Handle is easy to grip
- No included dryer
- Too large for some
A good bottle sterilizer can give you peace of mind that baby is not being exposed to potentially harmful germs. To help choose the best bottle sterilizers, we consulted with a pediatrician, along with advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, for guidance on these tools. We then tracked down the most popular sterilizers on the market and narrowed the field based on elements like ease of use, speed, size, and capacity. Reviews from real parents were also considered to ensure we had the best sense of how these sterilizers perform in a range of households.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Gina Posner, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. She earned her medical degree from New York Medical College and completed her residency at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Healthy Children (AAP), How to Sterilize and Warm Baby Bottles Safely, August 2018
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items: Frequently Asked Questions, February 2023