Whether they’re used to drinking breast milk or formula, all babies love drinking warm milk, which is why you probably have a bottle warmer on your countertop. But what about those times when you’re not at home? Enter the portable bottle warmers.
Generally speaking, a portable bottle warmer is light, compact, and allows you to heat up your baby’s meals quickly and easily.
But when we get into the specifics, there are also many differences among the various brands.
For example, warmers that come with a car adapter are great for heating bottles up while driving, but won’t be of much use if you don’t have access to your car.
On the other hand, travel bottle warmers that look like a coffee thermos are perfect for a hiking trip where you won’t have access to electricity but your little one still needs warm milk.
Of course, I’ll also cover regular electric models that make for great portable warmers due to their lightweight and compact size, so you can get the best possible overview of what’s available right now!
Once you weight the pros and cons of each one, I’m sure you will be able to find a portable bottle warmer that’s just what you’re looking for!
1. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer
The Tommee Tippee warmer for bottles is one of your best choices if you’re looking for a travel bottle warmer that doesn’t need any electricity to work.
In fact, all it needs is a bit of hot water to get the cold milk warmed up for your little one.
This model is made of multiple parts, but no need to worry – it’s super easy to use and won’t add any stress to your family camping trip!
It consists of a lidded container and what is essentially a thermos bottle.
While you’re packing for your trip, all you need to do is fill the thermos with boiling hot water and pop it in your diaper bag.
Once your little one is hungry, pour the hot water into the large white container after you have placed the baby bottle in it.
After a few minutes, it should be nice and warm for your baby – but always make sure to check the temperature first to make sure it’s not too hot.
The thermos is very safe to use as it is designed in a way that prevents spills and makes pouring really easy.
There’s a cap at the top that you need to press in order to pour the water; to close it again, simply press again.
If you’re wondering how you will know when the thermos is closed, just take a look at the cap – if it’s lifted, then the thermos is closed.
One of my favorite things about this warmer is the fact that it can keep the water hot for hours, so it will come in handy during long road trips, for example.
Even if you’re not using Tommee Tippee bottles, you can still rely on this portable bottle warmer as it can fit standard baby bottles, as well.
In addition, Tommee Tippee is a very well known and trusted baby gear brand, so you can rest assured that you will be getting a quality bottle warmer that you can use in the years to come.
2. Papablic Mini Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer
The Papablic portable warmer is pretty much in the same range as the Tommee Tippee model, both quality and price-wise.
But before you decide that this model is the best one for you, first make sure that the brand of baby bottles you’re currently using can actually fit this warmer model.
As Tommee Tippee and Comotomo baby bottles are wider than most brands, they won’t fit inside the Papablic warmer, unfortunately. Other brands though, like Evenflo, Medela, or any narrower bottles, will fit just fine.
Other than that, the Papablic portable bottle warmer will do a great job at heating up your baby’s bottle of milk, plus you can use it to warm up food as well.
And even though this travel warmer doesn’t need any electricity to run, it will still keep the water hot for a maximum of 12 hours, which is a giant plus in my book – we were able to go hiking all day without worrying that it would go cold.
Since the thermos is made from stainless steel, it is resistant to rust and is very durable. Plus, it’s also free from Bisphenol-A, better known as BPA.
When it comes to using this milk slash food warmer, simply fill the thermos with hot or boiling water and pour it in the container when you need warm milk for your little one.
It has a similar spill-proof mechanism to the Tommee Tippee model, with a cap that needs to be pressed to pour water.
Plus, you will probably be able to use it in your car as well because it’s a great fit for cup holders, too.
3. Kiinde Kozii Voyager
You can be sure that a portable bottle warmer means business when its name is Voyager – and the Kiinde Kozii model was definitely made for parents who love traveling yet don’t feel like lugging around their regular electric warmer for baby bottles.
At first glance, it looks very similar to the first and second model on my list. However, it has one big difference.
While Tommee Tippee and Papablic have only one container to warm the bottle in, the Voyager has two!
One cup is bigger than the other, so you can pick and choose based on how much milk or food you need to heat up.
In addition to looking like a coffee thermos, it weighs like one too (a little over a pound), so you will barely notice it in your backpack or diaper bag. It will also fit great inside your car cup holder!
4. Philips Avent Baby Bottle Warmer
While this Philips Avent warmer does need electricity to run, it’s one of my favorite portable bottle warmers because of its compact size and lightweight design.
It’s perfect if you’re going on vacation or visiting family since it won’t take up much counter space, but it won’t be of much use to you when you’re camping or hiking, of course.
Plus, it weighs only 8 ounces, so it’s as light as a small water bottle!
As it’s electric, it can warm milk in only 3 minutes, so your little one will get their food in no time!
And there won’t be any overheating, either, as you can refer to their handy instructions for precise warming times.
This model can also be used to defrost food or milk that was previously frozen.
As well as heating baby bottles, you can use it to warm up baby food, too.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a timer nor does it automatically turn off, so make sure to switch it off when you’re done using it, or you might just get an uncomfortable surprise from your fire alarm.
And whether you’re using a standard or a wider bottle, this warmer will be a good fit for either of the two.
5. Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Baby Bottle Warmer
I don’t think there’s a parent on this side of the Atlantic that hasn’t heard of the Dr. Brown’s brand – it’s pretty much a staple of the first years of so many babies!
This 2-pound lightweight warmer for bottles does need electricity to run, but is small enough to be barely noticeable on the counter, making it a great choice for vacations and other kinds of trips.
What I really love about this Deluxe model is that it automatically turns off after running for a specific amount of time, so even if you fall asleep or forget about turning it off, it doesn’t present a fire hazard.
This is especially important if you’re dealing with a bad case of “mommy brain” – I recall how forgetful I would get during this period, and automatic shut off really saved me more than a few times!
Before using the warmer, you will need to fill a small compartment with water that will be used to heat the bottle.
But you won’t need to fill it up again every time you need to warm something, as it will be enough for multiple uses.
The warmer can fit bottles of different sizes and even comes with an insert for smaller bottles.
There’s also a timer that will let you know when your baby formula or breast milk is ready for your little one.
6. Chicco Digital Bottle & Baby Food Jar Warmer
The Chicco is another really good portable warmer that is lightweight (just a little under 2 pounds!) and as such is really easy to transport and take with you if you’re going to be away for a while.
But before we get into all the reasons why Chicco is a model worth considering, we first need to deal with some of its downsides, which have pushed it into the 6th spot on my list.
The biggest downside, in my opinion, is the digital display. It’s really complicated and has way too many different settings to take into account before getting it up and running.
Now, this is by no means a dealbreaker, but having to learn how to use yet another appliance when all you want to do is warm up some milk is a little annoying.
In addition, if someone else is coming to take care of the baby, they would definitely have trouble figuring out how it works and might just find it easier to warm up a bottle in a cup of hot water.
Ease of use aside, this warmer for bottles does have very useful features such as an automatic switch-off and a timer.
Plus, it can be used to heat up food, as well as smaller baby bottles.
After you pop the bottle in, you can go about your business as the warmer will notify you when it’s done, which is very useful indeed.
7. Prince Lionheart On-the-Go Bottle Warmer with Insulated Bottle/Food Bag
With the Prince Lionhart warmer, we go back to portable warmers that can be used anywhere, anytime, as it doesn’t need to be plugged in to work.
It’s very simple to use – one press of a button will start the heating process of the special crystals that will warm up your baby’s bottle in a couple of minutes.
While it is reusable, it first needs to be boiled in water for a maximum of 15 minutes before it’s ready for another use.
This means that if you’re planning on warming up bottles more than once a day, you will definitely need more than one of these warmers.
In fact, most mamas find this to be the most inconvenient thing about this portable warmer, but other than that, it’s a really neat way of warming up your baby’s food while you’re out and about.
Plus, you will also get a bag where you can place the warmer and bottle to ensure that the milk is evenly heated and that there are no hot spots.
8. Beaba Quick Baby Bottle Warmer
Many warmers for bottles, especially the larger ones, are bottle sterilizers at the same time.
This is also the case with the Beaba warmer, which, even though it’s an electric model, is very compact and a great choice for traveling.
It’s always very important for everything that comes in direct contact with the baby, such as pacifiers and bottle nipples, to be regularly sterilized. Especially if you’re on vacation in a new place where your little one could be exposed to bacteria that aren’t present at home.
The Beaba model is really easy to use – there is a big dial in the front that allows you to adjust the timer, which ranges from 1 to 5 minutes (the highest setting is intended for sterilization).
Before using the warmer, you need to fill up the tank with a bit of water.
Unfortunately, it’s on the smaller side, so you will need to refill it frequently, but that is something to be expected with a compact warmer!
When the heating process is done, you will hear a notification sound 5 times to let you know that you can take the bottle out. Apart from bottles, you can also warm up jars with baby food, of course.
While moms do love how quick this model is, be careful not to burn yourself while getting the bottle out – it’s best to get a kitchen towel to protect your hands.
9. Puncia Bottle Warmer on The Go for Car
If you’re getting ready for a long car trip, you are probably most interested in warmers for bottles that come with a car adapter so that they can be used while you’re driving.
Out of the many portable bottle warmers for cars, the Puncia model is probably your best bet, although it’s not as highly rated as some of the warmers on the top of this list, so do keep that in mind.
On the other hand, I really like that it can be used with different brands of bottles that are a standard size, meaning that you won’t be limited to using only one specific bottle brand.
It’s also very simple to use as you just need to adjust the perfect milk temperature for your little one and wait until the heating is done. You will know that the process is over when the light on the display turns from red to blue.
The warmer also comes in two color choices – red and blue – which is a nice option considering that most warmers for bottles are only available in one color.
10. Munchkin Travel Car Baby Bottle Warmer
The Munchkin portable warmer is also another model specifically made with cars in mind, but it works in a different way than the Puncia warmer.
It consists of a heating band that you wrap around the baby’s bottle and a car adapter that needs to be plugged in.
On the adapter, there are 6 different timer settings, with the lowest being 5 minutes and the highest 30 minutes.
If you’re using it while driving at night, you won’t have any trouble finding the right settings because it has a handy night light feature.
Unfortunately, you aren’t able to set your desired temperature nor can the warmer detect the temperature of the bottle, so it’s not one of the most versatile warmers on the market.
In addition, you might have to play around with different timer settings at the beginning to see which one works best for you and how long will it actually take to warm the bottle to the temperature you’d like.
Definitely don’t use it for the first time when you’re in the car with an already hungry baby – that could lead to lots of frustration, to say the least!
11. Nanobebe Smart Warming Bowl in Teal
If you’re used to warming your baby’s milk in a bowl or large mug, you might be wondering what all the fuss is with a “smart warming bowl” and how it’s different from a regular bowl.
The answer lies in the shape, which is curved to warm the milk as quickly as possible without making it too hot for your little one.
But remember – this bowl won’t actually heat the water, you need to add already warm or hot water to the bowl.
While this warmer won’t be useful in situations where you don’t have access to hot water, it definitely beats getting a regular bowl, as it’s much faster and more convenient to use when you’re not at home.
It’s also made from plastic that doesn’t contain BPA, so Nanobebe gets some bonus points there as well!
12. USB Milk Bottle Heatkeeper
If you have already been doing some Googling yourself, you have probably come across warmers that are powered with a USB cable and portable charger.
And if you’re a tech-friendly mom like me, this warmer would probably shoot straight to the top of your list.
Unfortunately, there is a reason why it has finished in the last place on my list of recommendations.
While the majority of warmers can get your milk from refrigerator cold to toasty warm in a reasonable amount of time, this warmer will only be able to keep your milk warm, not heat it up.
Of course, this doesn’t render the device useless right away.
In fact, it’s perfect if you would like to go out for a stroll with the baby before their mealtime, as it will keep the bottle warm until your little one is ready to eat.
Another plus is the cover, which can be removed and washed if needed.
Just make sure you already have a portable charger at home, since this warmer doesn’t come with one of its own.
As for color, it comes in both baby blue and baby pink, which is a nice touch.
Warm vs. cold milk
Whether you’ve been breastfeeding or feeding your baby formula, it’s likely that your little one is used to a warm temperature when it comes to their bottle.
What’s more, there are many parents who have heard that cold milk can cause tummy trouble for the baby, which has led them to avoid it altogether.
The truth is that there is no danger behind giving your little one milk that’s a bit on the colder side.
On the other hand, most babies are already accustomed to milk that’s either at body or room temperature, so giving them cold milk might backfire and they could refuse to drink it altogether.
This can be the case with breastfed babies, who are used to warmer milk.
As parents transition them to a bottle, they usually introduce milk that is warmed up to minimize the chances of the baby refusing the bottle.
If you’re planning on feeding your baby formula from the start, however, there is no harm in giving it to your little one without heating it.
Using the microwave
For us adults, heating up food automatically reminds us of using the microwave, so it’s no wonder that many parents ask themselves if it’s safe to use the microwave to warm up the baby’s bottle.
While it would be incredibly convenient, the truth is that no, you should not use a microwave to prepare your little one’s bottle under any circumstances.
There are several reasons behind it, with the main one being that microwaves aren’t very good at distributing heat evenly.
Do you know how you need to take your leftover spaghetti out once or twice and stir it before it’s ready to eat? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Your baby’s milk could come out cold in some spots and scalding hot in others, which is incredibly dangerous as it could burn their mouth.
Then there’s the fact that many of us use plastic dishes when warming food up.
But plastic can contain numerous harmful chemicals that can enter the milk during the heating process – and you definitely wouldn’t want your baby to ingest them.
Not to mention that the microwave heat will get rid of the many important nutrients found in breast milk and as the entire point of breastfeeding is to give your little one the best food possible, using the microwave will defeat its purpose.
Even using the stove is dangerous, albeit for different reasons.
You might think that putting the bottle in a pot of water on a stovetop is a great (and budget-friendly) way of warming up a bottle, but it’s generally not a good idea.
First off, you might forget that the stove is on, causing the bottle to melt, which is a giant fire hazard.
Also, it’s very hard to gauge whether the milk is warmed up, making it really easy to overheat it.
Keeping breast milk from reaching too high temperatures is especially important to prevent it from losing all the nutrients that the baby needs.
As a rule of thumb, avoid heating breast milk above temperatures of 104°F, as this is the cutoff point after which your “liquid gold” will begin losing its nutrients.
How to safely warm up a bottle
While I’m always a strong advocate for using technology to make our lives easier whenever possible, sometimes you might find yourself in a situation when you don’t have access to a warmer and your little one is getting hungrier and more cranky by the second.
Since microwaves and stoves are a no-no, here’s an easy way of warming bottles as safely as possible.
Simply fill a bowl or large mug with hot or warm water and place the bottle in it. After a few minutes, the milk should be toasty warm and just right for your little one!
But no matter if you’re using a standard warmer or a good old fashioned bowl with some hot water, always remember to test the temperature of the milk on your wrist before giving it to your little one.
Before purchasing a portable or travel-friendly warmer
Is there any mom out there who doesn’t like compact baby products?
Especially when preparing for a trip, no matter how long or short, there are simply so many things to pack for the baby that a warmer for bottles absolutely needs to be “fun-sized.”
But before going ahead and buying a warmer to take with you on the go, there are a few things to consider.
First off, ask yourself: Where you will be using it?
Warmers that are completely electricity-free and use a thermos bottle to preserve the heat are some of my favorites because they can get the job done without a lot of fuss.
You don’t have to worry about the battery not working or any other tech-related issue since all you need to do is pour the water into a container and wait for the bottle to be ready.
A complaint that tends to come up with these models, however, is that they sometimes leak, but I believe this is an issue related to individual warmer defects, rather than this type of model.
Although many of them are designed in a way that allows you to place them in a cupholder in your car, they are a little tricky to use in a moving vehicle – trust me, you definitely don’t want to spill piping hot water all over your lap mid-drive.
On the other hand, I think this type of warmer will do a great job during hiking trips, holidays, or visits to in-laws when you don’t have access to your standard warmer.
Warmers that come with a car adapter can work very well during long drives, but it definitely pays off to test the device beforehand and see just how long they take to warm the bottle.
Some parents have found that these warmers do well with heating room temperature bottles but struggle with bottles that have spent some time in the cooler, so it’s better to find this out prior to getting in the car and embarking on that 8-hour ride to the beach!
To wrap up
Sometimes it seems like an outing with a baby requires as much gear as a camping trip!
And making sure your baby is drinking milk that’s nice and warm even when you’re not at home does require some planning and preparation.
But as you’re already carrying around extra diapers, wet wipes, toys, and God knows what else, you certainly don’t need a heavy-duty warmer for bottles to make things even more complicated for you.
That’s why portable bottle warmers are the perfect choice when you’re out and about with your little one, whether you’re on holiday, visiting family, or are simply spending a day in the great outdoors.
And while there’s plenty of baby products out there that parents and babies can definitely do without, portable bottle warmers are definitely not one of them – they really make your life a lot easier and keep your baby well-fed and happy!
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