The 10 Best Bottle Sterilizers
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 technically, it’s true. 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. 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 3 months, have a weakened immune system or were recently sick, according 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, i’s important to understand what qualifies as sterilizing (spoiler alert: It’s not just cleaning with extra-hot water) and the different sterilizing 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 are a few different kinds of bottle sterilizers to consider:
● Electric steam. Countertop bottle sterilizers harness the power of electric steam and reach higher temps 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.
Best Electric Steam Bottle Sterilizer
If cleaning five bottles in five minutes isn’t enough to sell you on the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Sterilizer, there are plenty of other features to praise. It zaps 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria and keeps things sterile for a full 24 hours (if the lid stays closed), meaning you can switch it on at night and wake up to sparkling bottles. And despite the fact that it can hold a whole lot, the compact design keeps this bottle sterilizer from taking up too much space on the counter. Plus, it’s 100 percent BPA-free.
Buy it: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Steam Sterilizer, $70, Amazon.com
Best Microwave Bottle Sterilizer
Parents love Dr. Brown’s bottles for its anti-colic and gas-reducing design, but often aren’t crazy about all the 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.
Buy it: Dr. Brown’s Microwave Steam Sterilizer, $20, Amazon.com
Best UV Bottle Sterilizer
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.
Buy it: Wabi Baby Touch Panel Dual Function UV Sterilizer and Dryer, $254, Amazon.com
Best Affordable Bottle Sterilizer
Hundreds of parents rave about the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The simple, no-frills design gets the job done fast and well, 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.
Buy it: Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer, $12, Amazon.com
Best Bottle Sterilizer-Dryer Combo
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.
Buy it: Wabi Baby Steam Sanitizer and Dryer Plus, $120, Amazon.com
Most Efficient Bottle Sterilizer
When you have a hungry baby on your hands and zero bottles ready, you can can quickly find yourself (and your child) in meltdown mode. 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). This bottle sanitizer is also lightweight, compact and easy to transport, proving not all heroes wear capes.
Buy it: Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer, $17, Amazon.com
Most Versatile Bottle Sterilizer
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 foot 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?
Buy it: Beaba Quick Baby Bottle Warmer, Steam Sterilizer, and Baby Food Warmer, $60, Amazon.com
Best Bottle Sterilizer for Parents of mMltiples
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 Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer, which comes ready to take on all those bottles (and nipples, pacifiers, teethers and toys) in one fell swoop. With space to hold up to 11 bottles and parts (the largest on the market we’ve found), the Papablic Baby Bottle Sterilizer steam cleans in eight minutes, dries in 40 and keeps everything germ-free for up to 12 hours—all with just the simple turn of a dial.
Buy it: Papablic Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer, $70, Amazon.com
Best Stylish Bottle Sterilizer
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 hundreds of 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 and 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. 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.
Buy it: Baby Brezza One Step Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer, $96, Amazon.com
Best On-the-Go Bottle Sterilizer
Families who travel frequently or 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.
Buy it: Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam Bags, $7 for pack of 5, Amazon.com
Updated August 2019 Plus, more from The Bump: