Baby bottles are an essential part of every parent’s life. Keeping them as clean as possible can sometimes be a challenge, which is why many moms and dads use bottle sterilizers.
Bottle sterilizers, which can also be used to clean pacifiers, toys, or breast pump parts, are a guaranteed way of keeping your baby’s bottles completely free of germs and safe for everyday use.
In turn, this lowers the chances of your little one getting sick, reduces the number of trips to the doctor’s office, and makes for a much happier family!
Before sterilizers were a thing, parents mostly boiled bottles in hot water.
But now, if you want to make this process quicker, you can purchase a sterilizer that will do this for you.
There are different options to choose from, including electric ones that are just like another appliance in your kitchen and high-tech UV light devices that will kill the bacteria on seemingly anything.
And, if you’re feeling reluctant about purchasing yet another device for your baby, I’ve got some simple and affordable options that won’t cause you to run short on counter space.
To help you make a more informed choice, I’ve compiled a list of high-quality, budget and deluxe bottle sterilizers that you can incorporate into your kitchen to keep your baby items germ-free.
Before we dive into it, here’s a quick list of my top picks for all the busy moms:
|Top||Papablic Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer||Prime||Buy Now|
|Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer||Prime||Buy Now|
|Bable Bottle Dryer, Electric Steam Clean Bottles, Keep Steam Clean, Food Dehydrator Machine and Vegetable Dryer||Prime||Buy Now|
|Wabi Baby Touch Panel Dual Function UV Sterilizer & Dryer||Prime||Buy Now|
|BABY JOY Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer, 3-in-1 Modular Electric Dryer Machine, Milk Warmer with Large Capacity, Temperature Control, LED Monitor||Prime||Buy Now|
1. Papablic Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer
The Papablic Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer can clean as many as 11 bottles at the same time, plus it can also sanitize plastic toys, which is great news since babies love sticking just about anything in their mouth.
And even after your child stops drinking from a bottle, you can use the Papablic to clean their toys!
Before you use the sterilizer, I recommend that you lightly wash out the bottles first.
If you don’t feel like washing, another option is to soak them in warm water for a couple of minutes and then pop them in the device.
There are three different modes to choose from, lasting 8, 45, and 65-minute minutes, respectively.
The quick mode is great if you just have a couple of small items that need cleaning and the longest will thoroughly clean a large batch of baby items, including bottles.
This is an electric sterilizer with an automatic drying function, so you don’t need to hand dry your bottles or wait for them to air dry.
Don’t run to empty it as soon as it’s done cleaning, though.
Wait for a little while for the sterilizer to cool down, otherwise, you might accidentally get burnt.
2. Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Heavy-duty sterilizers like the Papablic are great for home use, but what if you’re going to be traveling and need something more compact?
Or maybe you don’t want to spend too much money on a sterilizer?
In both cases, microwave sterilizers are a suitable alternative.
The Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer was my go-to whenever we were traveling.
All you need to do is load it with bottles (it fits up to 4, but you can fit more depending on the size) or other baby gear like pacifiers, add water and pop it in the microwave.
In just two minutes, the bottles are clean!
Even though this is a microwave device, it heats up to a higher temperature than a dishwasher and can get rid of 99.9 percent of germs.
It’s also BPA-free and has safety handles so you can remove it from the microwave without burning yourself.
3. Tommee Tippee Microwave Travel Steam Baby Bottle Sterilizer
The beloved Tommee Tippee brand includes a range of sterilizers for baby bottles. The microwave, BPA-free, travel-friendly sterilizer accommodates four bottles and takes around 8 minutes to finish the cleaning process.
Just a heads up – let it cool for a couple of minutes before taking it out of the microwave.
Unlike the Philips model, it doesn’t have any safety handles so it’s much easier to get burnt.
Even if you don’t take out the bottles right away, they’ll stay bacteria-free for 24 hours as long as the device stays shut.
But since they’re sanitized in a microwave and there is no drying function, you’ll have to dry the items yourself.
4. Dr. Brown’s Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Another microwave-friendly sterilizer that can fit up to 4 baby bottles at the same time – this time from Dr. Brown.
The set comes with tongs you can use to safely remove bottles and smaller items like pacifiers or breast pump parts.
It’s not very big either, so it’s perfect if you have a smaller microwave.
The entire sterilization process takes about 5 minutes, depending on the type of microwave you’re using, and you should let the device cool for a couple of minutes before removing it.
While it does come with safety handles on the sides to help you get it out of the microwave, they’re pretty small so it might be a challenge removing it from the microwave without any accidental spills.
You can’t lock the lid either, so be careful not to try and lift it up from the top.
5. Baby Bottle Warmer, Bottle Sterilizer 6-in-1
The Grownsy bottle warmer and steam bottle sterilizer is a BPA-free device that can warm and defrost food, in addition to sterilizing baby accessories.
Once it’s done cleaning or warming bottles, it shuts off automatically which is a great safety measure.
It also has a neat and compact design with an LED-display that is easy to see during the night.
Unfortunately, it can only sterilize a maximum of two bottles at the same time, which might not be ideal for some parents, especially if you have more than one child.
On the plus side, additional functions such as bottle warming and food defrosting could make up for its lack of space.
6. Bololo Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer
If you have extra space in your kitchen and you need a bigger baby bottle sterilizer, then the Bololo could be the right sterilizer for you.
Sure, it’s on the pricier side of things if you compare it to the microwave ones, but when you take a look at the perks it’s clear that it’s a great value for money.
For example, it can fit up to 12 bottles at the same time and contains a HEPA filter, which makes sure that the air entering the device is as clean as possible.
This might not seem like a big deal at first, but if you consider the level of air pollution in most cities, it’s actually pretty important.
Instead of a control dial that can be found on other similar sterilizers, the Bololo has an LED screen that’s easy to see in the dark and means you don’t need to think about accidentally breaking the dial.
7. Wabi Baby Touch Panel Dual Function UV Sterilizer & Dryer
So far, I’ve told you about electric and microwave steam sterilizers.
But you should also know about devices that use UV lights to keep your baby products clean!
The Wabi Baby Touch Panel Dual Function UV Sterilizer & Dryer will clean and dry your bottles in just 30 minutes. Plus, you can even use it to clean electronics such as your tablet or smartphone!
When it’s not turned on, you can use it for storing bottles and other baby items, which is not something other sterilizers offer.
Unfortunately, some parents have reported that their brand of baby bottles doesn’t support UV sterilizers, so you should first make sure your baby accessories are safe for UV rays before purchasing.
And then there’s the issue of cost since the Wabi Baby sterilizer is pretty pricey.
It takes up a lot of counter space, too, so before you splurge, you should make sure your kitchen is big enough.
8. Bable Electric Steam Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer
The Bable sterilizer is an affordable electric model with an automatic shutoff function that can fit 12 baby bottles at one time.
The drying process can be completed in as little as 30 minutes and you can also use the drying function separately if you need to.
The device is totally safe for different kinds of bottles, regardless of whether they’re made out of glass or silica gel, for example.
It’s BPA and lead-free and doesn’t take up a lot of counter space either, so it’s a good fit for smaller kitchens.
9. TBI Pro Dual Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer 5-in-1
The TBI PRO is another multipurpose device – it can warm up breast milk, baby formula, or baby food, as well as sterilize baby items.
It’s quite compact, so it can only fit two bottles at a time but it’s easy to transport and isn’t very heavy, so it’s a good fit for families on the go.
On a medium temperature setting, it takes around 10 minutes to finish the sterilization process.
On the safety side, the device has an automatic shut off function in case it overheats. It also comes with a pair of tongs so you don’t need to fish out pacifiers with your fingers.
10. BabyX Fast Bottle Warmer
This cute and compact little bottle warmer also does a great job at cleaning your baby items, without putting a giant dent in your credit card bill.
At first, it looks like a small blender that you would use to make smoothies and protein shakes, as it can only fit one bottle at a time.
Since it’s quite small it can only be used for things such as pacifiers, caps, or teethers, but it performs a quick clean in only a couple of minutes.
There is also a pair of tongs available to make it easier to get the items out after the cleaning is over.
Since it’s fun-sized, it’s not a big hassle to clean – something you should ideally do once a month.
11. BABY JOY Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer
The BABY JOY Electric Steam Sterilizer is the stuff an organized mom’s dreams are made of, as it comes with three stacking options that can fit up to 10 bottles at the same time.
Since it has an integrated dryer, your bottles will be ready for use right away – the whole process takes about 40 minutes.
Safety-wise, it’s designed to immediately shut off if there is no water. The Baby Joy also comes with a measuring cup so you always add just the right amount of water.
Plus, there is a basket that can hold smaller items like caps or teethers.
Like many other sterilizers, this model also functions as a warmer for breast milk or baby formula, so there’s no need to buy two separate devices.
For all its functionality, it comes at a pretty affordable price.
12. Elechomes Baby Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer
This is another all-in-one sterilizer, dryer, and warmer that shuts itself off when it’s done doing its thing, so you’re free to run errands with peace of mind.
In addition to being able to fit 10 regular bottles, even bigger ones such as Dr. Brown’s 8-ounce bottle can fit easily, so you know you’re good no matter which bottle brand you’re using.
Cleaning is fairly straightforward as well.
The dryer and sterilizer are detachable and easy to access, and you should try to clean the device every 2 to 3 weeks.
To prevent limescale build-up and make sure the device lasts longer, it is recommended to use distilled or purified water.
The thriftiest option of them all
If transitioning to a full-scale electric or even microwave steam sterilizer is too much right now, the thriftiest option without returning to boiling bottles in a pot is microwave sterilizer bags.
They’re compact, easy to use, and travel-friendly!
1. Munchkin Latch Microwave Sterilize Bags
These bags are so affordable and go such a long way – one pack comes with only 6 bags, but each bag can be reused as many as 30 times, which adds up to 180 uses.
They’re great for cleaning bottles and other baby accessories – you just fill one up with water and pop it in the microwave.
One corner is marked as cool to the touch to prevent you from getting burned, and there is an extra opening for steam.
I always kept a pack of these around just in case – they come in handy when someone else is taking care of the kids and isn’t comfortable using an electric model.
2. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
The Medela bags come in packs of 12 or 15 and do the same job in around 3 minutes, but can only be used up to 20 times.
The bags are BPA-free and also work great for sterilizing breast pump parts.
The same rule that goes for other sterilizers applies here as well – you should always pre-wash any items before placing them in the bag since the hot water kills bacteria but can’t wash off food or milk residue.
The importance of a sterilizer
Babies are sensitive little beings.
Since their immune systems are so weak, they can easily develop infections in their first years that send their parents into a panic.
What’s worse, it’s not like they can tell you what’s wrong, so in the end, you enter a guessing game with your partner, the doctor, and let’s be real, Google.
So, it’s natural that you would want to keep everything that comes into contact with your baby’s mouth as clean as possible.
Baby bottles should come at the top of that list.
I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that before the 20th century, the life expectancy for newborn babies wasn’t very long.
This had nothing to do with poor diet but had everything to do with bacteria build-up in dirty bottles.
Back then, we didn’t know anything about the dangers of built-up bacteria but today we do, and there’s no excuse not to keep your little munchkin’s items clean.
While most parents think that washing bottles with dish soap and warm water will do the trick, every once in a while it’s a great idea to sterilize them.
Some parents even do this on an everyday basis as sterilizers are quick and simple to use.
At the very least, you can sterilize them the old school way by boiling them in a pot of water.
All you need is a large pot filled with boiling water where you place items such as nipples, caps, pacifiers, bottles, and then you wait for five minutes.
This process should get rid of the majority of dangerous germs.
If you take this route though, make sure you keep your eyes on the stove the entire time.
Otherwise, the water might completely evaporate, causing the plastic to melt and catch on fire.
You might also think that putting baby accessories in the dishwasher is enough, but their temperature is not high enough to kill as many bacteria as boiling hot temperatures.
Plus, boiling water can reach all the little nooks and crannies you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
The downside is that you might get burnt while getting the items out, which is why it’s better to invest in a specialized sanitizer, such as a sterilizing device.
What to keep in mind
Before you go on Amazon and scroll through the dozens, if not hundreds, of bottle sterilizers available, you should decide on the kind of features you’re looking for.
For example, there are some models that are powered by batteries, while others need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
This is why it’s important to check if your kitchen has an extra outlet available.
If it doesn’t, you might find microwave sterilizers suitable.
But while they are easy to transport, they are also quite small and don’t have a drying function, so you’d need to hand or air-dry your pacifiers and caps.
Then there are the high-tech, UV sterilizers that clean everything from bottles to TV remote controls.
Parents can be pretty forgetful.
Even though you set several reminders on your phone to remember to clean your little one’s bottles, somehow it’s 2 AM and you’re scrambling in your kitchen looking for a fresh bottle.
In this case, having a super slow device that takes an hour to clean and another hour to dry is definitely a no-go.
This is why you should always carefully read the product descriptions for any mentions of speed as that can be a dealbreaker for a lot of moms and dads.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sterilizers are not dishwashers.
You will need to pre-wash the items before putting them in, otherwise there will be residue and you could even break your device.
And they are very hot, so make sure you follow the instructions very carefully and keep them somewhere curious little hands can’t reach.
There is also the question of size – yes, I know you totally love that 12-bottle sterilizer but do you have the counter space for it?
If you don’t, I’m afraid it will just end up collecting dust in your garage.
There are numerous smaller, but also aesthetically pleasing models that could be a great fit for kitchens with limited space.
Cost is always a key factor, but you should know that just because you might be running on a tighter budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford a good-quality sterilizer. In fact, most are quite affordable.
The bigger, electric models have a big advantage.
After your kids are out of the bottle stage, you can still use the sterilizer to disinfect their plastic toys or even sippy cups.
So you should look at this as a long-term investment in your family’s health.
When you do decide to purchase one, make sure you clean it on a regular basis.
A common mistake that parents make is to rarely clean their sterilizer.
But just because it keeps your baby gear free of germs, that doesn’t mean it can’t develop some bacterial build-up of its own.
Most devices also use water to produce heat, and since water has plenty of minerals, this can cause limescale to form.
Luckily, limescale is pretty easy to get rid of.
Usually, all it takes is a little bit of white vinegar or citric acid and water, but for more specific instructions you might want to check with the manufacturer.
All in all…
The health of our kids is always a priority and if going through these simple cleaning steps every day can lower their chances of getting sick, then there’s no reason not to do so.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the tried and tested method of a pot of boiling hot water, but if there’s a nifty device that can do the same thing with the press of a button, giving you more time to play with and take care of your baby (or yourself!), then I know which option I’d go with.
Boiling baby gear on a stove is also a pretty big fire hazard, so I would definitely avoid this method if at all possible.
I completely understand if you’re feeling confused by all the different brands that are out there.
It can sometimes seem impossible to find your way through the maze of different recommendations – but I hope I’ve made this a little easier for you!
And let’s be perfectly clear, getting a sterilizer doesn’t mean spending hundreds of dollars right off the bat.
The bags that you fill up with water and put in the microwave are incredibly affordable and can last for months at a time.
My first bottle sterilizer was a microwave one and it did its job perfectly well.
It was only later that we graduated to an electric model.
Trust me, once you get one, you won’t believe how you managed without it!
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