If you have a newborn, you already know that you will need to take extra care to keep your baby safe, especially during their first months after birth. That includes ensuring that anything that goes into their mouth is thoroughly cleaned with hot water and soap. You also want to sterilize their bottles and feeding accessories because cleaning alone will not eliminate harmful germs that are notorious for various infections. This is of utmost importance since your baby’s immune system is still undeveloped at this time, making them vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Even more susceptible are preemies and babies who are suffering from an illness.
The old-age practice for sterilizing baby bottles has been to boil, but this method is not very effective for some heat-resistant bacteria. It is also tedious and time-consuming because you will also need to dry the items. A baby bottle sterilizer uses heated steam to eliminate 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria effectively and is faster, and some can dry as well. Investing in sterilizer makes life a lot easier so you can concentrate on your baby more.
In this review, we will be discussing the different types of sterilizers in the market, how to use them, and we are confident that after reading through, you can identify one that suits your needs.
Comparison Table of the Best Baby Bottle Sterilizers
|Best Sterilizer-Dryer Combo: Wabi Baby Steam||Fits up to 8 bottles; Easy to operate; Has drying capability; Automatic shutdown sensorSterilizes in 8 minutes; Digital timer||Buy on Amazon|
|Best All-In-One: Papablic Baby||Large loading capacity(11 bottles); Easy to use; Fast sterilizing and drying cycles||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Value For Money:Philips Avent Microwave||Sterilizes in less than 2 minutes; Holds up to 4 bottles||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Electric Sterilizer: New Timmee Tippee||Fits 6 bottles; Removable trays to fit taller items; Sterilizes in 5 minutes; Includes pacifier and nipple tongs||Buy on Amazon|
|Best For Small Space: Philips Avent3-in-1||Great for small kitchen counters; Easy to use; Packs 6 bottles; Sterilizes in 6 minutes; Automatic shut off||Buy on Amazon|
|Best UV Sterilizer: Wabi Baby Touch||Most expensive option; Uses UV to sterilize and dry; Multipurpose sterilization; Digital timerMultiple setting options||Buy on Amazon|
|Best For Breastfeeding: Baby Brezza||Fits up to 6 bottles of all shapes and sizes; Takes 8 minutes to sterilize; Drying capability; Automatic shut off; Multiple setting options; Digital countdown timer||Buy on Amazon|
|No products found.||Best Steam Sterilizer: The First Years||Fits up to 6 bottles; Accommodates all types of bottles; BPA free||No products found.|
|Best Microwave Sterilizer: Munchkin Microwave||Most affordable option; Easy to use; Fits 4 bottles and 2 breast shields; Fastest sterilization-2 minutes; Open-away latch and heat resistant handle||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Steam Bags: Medela Micro Bags||Affordable pricing; Portable; Convenient and easy to use; BPA free; Takes 3 minutes to sterilize; Bag reusable 20 times||Buy on Amazon|
|Most Adaptable Sterilizer: Baby Bottle Sterilizer Chicco 3-in-1||3-in-1 operation modes; Combined electric and microwave system; Large loading capacity; Sterilizes in 4 minutes; Portable Fits 6 bottles; Multiple options for different needs||Buy on Amazon|
Do I Need to Sterilize My Bottles?
Washing the bottles with warm soapy water is excellent for cleaning, but it is not enough to get rid of all the germs. Sterilizing is an important step you need to take, especially if you have a preemie, a newborn below three months or your child is recovering from an illness to make sure all the items are germs-free. Even if your child does not fall in those categories, sterilizing is still a plus.
Different Ways to Sterilize a Bottle
- Using Electric steam
These sterilizers sit on your countertop and need to be plugged in. They work by using high-temperature steam to kill all the bacteria and germs. This is the best option if you need to sterilize your bottles frequently.
- Microwave steam
Microwave steam sterilizers also use steam to sterilize, but you put your bottles inside the microwave.
They are a cheaper alternative to electric sterilizers and faster.
- UV light
Ultraviolet light is commonly used in the medical field to kill bacteria and germs. Now, bottle sterilizers are using this technology, and it is highly effective and fast. The unit has a bulb that radiates ultraviolet light to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and dry your bottles. They come in various models and sizes. You can use the larger models at home or smaller portable models for while traveling.
- Cold-water sterilizing solution
This method requires you to wash the bottles or other feeding items with warm soapy water and rinse. Then, immerse clean items in the sterilizing solution, which is dissolved in cold water for the recommended duration. You can get the sterilizer either in solution form or tablet form. Of course, you will need to change the sterilizing solution every 24 hours or according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
Choosing the Best Baby Bottle Sterilizer (what to look for)
Ease of use
Baby bottle sterilizers should be simple to use. Choose a brand that is straightforward to operate.
If you use a lot of bottles, probably because you formula feed or you have multiples, you would be better off with a unit that can handle many bottles. If you are a breastfeeding mother who uses bottles only occasionally, a smaller unit may be suitable for you.
If you want a unit that lessens your workload, choose a sterilizer that can also dry your bottles. Microwave sterilizers are very fast in operations, but they leave the bottles wet, requiring you to dry hence adding to your workload.
If you prefer an option that won’t occupy much space on your kitchen counter, go for a microwave option. You can keep these sterilizers in your cabinet and remove them on a need basis. Plus, they don’t require an outlet to work. On the other hand, electric sterilizers are large and require to be plugged in.
If your budget is already stretched thin with all the stuff you need to buy with a newborn, you can opt for microwave sterilizers cheaper than other sterilizers.
This may not be a deal breaker for most people, but it is a nice option to have. Sometimes you will want to go out with your baby visiting friends, family, outing, etc. A portable model will ensure your baby’s stuff are sterile at such times. You can get a compact UV sterilizer that uses batteries, which can be used anywhere, anytime.
The Best Baby Bottle Sterilizers of 2021
Best Dryer Combo: Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer
If you want a unit that can sterilize and dry many bottles at once, the Wabi Baby electric sterilizer is perfect. It can fit up to 8 standard size bottles.
It is also straightforward for anyone to operate; just fill the water to the recommended level, put in the bottles, and press a button to start the steaming cycle. Sterilizing takes between 8 to 15 minutes. You can set the drying option to run between 10 to 60 minutes, and it has a smart sensor to turn the unit off automatically when it is finished. Plus, it has a countdown timer to know how much time is remaining for a cycle.
Wabi electric sterilizer is an expensive option (retails at $130). If you are a momma who needs to use many bottles throughout the day, this model is spacious so you can fit many items in and is very efficient in drying.
- Very efficient in drying
- Has a large capacity
- It autosaves your last user setting, making it convenient for next time
- It is expensive, costing more than six times of some microwave sterilizers
- It is bulky hence not fit for smaller kitchen counters
- It takes a long time to dry the items completely
Best All-In-One Baby Bottle Sterilizer: Papablic Steam Sterilizer and Dryer.
If you want a sterilizer that also dries and can handle lots of bottles, pump parts, and more, you need to get your hands on the Papablic steam sterilizer. This model also beats others in terms of capacity. You can fit up to 11 bottles, and it does not even take up much of your countertop since it is taller rather than wider. The trays inside are removable so you can arrange to be able to fit in taller items.
It is also simple to use. Simply add 100 ml of water (preferably filtered to prevent mineral deposit), pack in your bottles, turn the dial to start a cycle – 45 minutes later, you will have your bottles sterile and dry to use immediately. Or leave the lid on to have you to keep them sterile for up to 12 hours.
You will be pleasantly surprised that this amazing handy gadget also comes along at an affordable pricing of $70 compared to other electric models.
- Large loading capacity (highest on our list)
- Efficient drying capability
- Easy to operate
- Affordably priced
- Does not take much space
- High quality and durable
- Considering the price, it should have a digital timer
Best Budget Option: Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Philips Avent microwave steam sterilizer is a highly effective and fast operating machine. Coming at just a fraction of other sterilizers’ price at just $17, this is one of the most inexpensive sterilizers you can find.
It holds up to four bottles (standard and wide-necked)or other items like breast pump parts, pacifiers, milk storage cups, etc, and sterilizes them in just 2 minutes, killing 99.9 percent of the germs. If you leave the lid on, your items can stay sterile up to 24 hours.
It is easy to use. Simply add the recommended amount of water, secure the lid, put it in the microwave, and heat to the recommended time.
You will also love how convenient this model is. It operates inside your microwave, so it does not take any space on your countertop. It is also lightweight and compact, which is easy to pack whenever you need to travel.
- Can sterilize four bottles at once
- Space-saving and portable
- Fast operation, sterilizes in just 2 minutes
- Might not fit in some microwave
- Some customers report that the lid melts
Best Electric sterilizer: Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Sterilizer
If you need to sterilize many bottles in just under five minutes, the Tomme Tippee Electric Sterilizer will do just that. It has a large loading capacity to hold up to six bottles, pacifiers, breast pumps, and more. It has two stackable trays so you can pack all the items you want to sterilize. If you have taller bottles, you can remove the upper tray to create space.
With this sterilizer, you can be in peace of mind knowing that it eliminates 99.9 percent of the germs from your baby’s feeding items. And when it is done you can leave the lid closed to keep the items sterile for 24 hours.
It is just as easy to operate as our previous models. Just fill water into the plate up to the recommended level, load up your items, press the button to start the cycle.
As a bonus, it comes with a newborn pacifier and nipple tongs.
- Very spacious
- The new version is smaller, hence doesn’t take a lot of your counter space
- Easy to operate
- Easy to clean
- You can’t leave items inside after sterilization to dry because it collects a lot of condensation.
Best Sterilizer for small Spaces: Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer
If you are short on counter space and need a fast operating sterilizer, you might want to try the Philips Avent 3-in-1 electric sterilizer. It uses heated steam to kill up to 99.9 percent of harmful germs from your baby’s bottles, pacifiers, pump parts, and the like.
As you can see above, it has a tall slim design, so it takes minimal space in your kitchen counter. We also love its unique modular design, making it easy for you to organize your bottles and other items when loading and unloading.
To operate, you add water to the base, fill the compartment and secure the lid, then press the button, and it’s ready to get to work.
You can pack up to 6 standard or wide-necked bottles and sterilize them within six minutes. When it is done, the unit is designed to shut off automatically to save energy and prevent your items from melting from the heat. It also keeps your bottles sterile for up to 24 hours if you leave the lid closed- just leave it running when you go to sleep and wake up to sterile bottles.
- A compact design ideal for small spaces
- Shuts off automatically
- Straightforward to use
- It leaves the items wet due to condensation and also makes a mess when you take the lid off
Best UV Baby Bottle Sterilizer: Wabi Baby Touch Sterilizer & Dryer
Wabi Baby Touch Sterilizer and Dryer may be an expensive option ($288), but it is an excellent handy gadget. It uses dual UV lamps to eliminate 99.9% of germs from items efficiently. It has combined functions of a sterilizer and dryer, cutting down your chores, which is a huge plus. You can also leave the items inside to act as a handy storage unit.
In under 30 minutes, once you place your bottles inside the unit and press the button, you will have them sterilized and dry, ready for immediate use. All you have to do is wipe them down with a clean cloth after removing them. And by the way, you are not limited to just baby feeding items with this unit; since it does not use steam, you can even use it to sterilize electronics, jewelry, kitchenware, toys, and just about anything.
It also gives you the option of choosing various sterilizing and drying settings from the easy touch panel on top of the unit.
If you are the type of mom who needs to keep everything sterile around the house (considering we are stuck indoors with COVID-19), this is a great investment. Plus, it has a sleek design that would look nice on your counter if you are willing to trade space for convenience.
- Offers multipurpose sterilization for many items
- Option to select from various settings
- Very efficient sterilization and drying
- It is spacious inside to fit many items
- Can serve as storage
- Has a digital timer, so you know how much time is remaining for the cycle to end
- Not the fastest option
- It is not great for small spaces
- It is pricey
Best for Breastfeeding: Baby Brezza Baby Bottle Sterilizer
Most breastfeeding moms have to keep pumping and storing the excess milk to feed the baby later and keep their milk supply up. It also helps relieve engorgement and prevents a painful infection called mastitis. If that is your case, Baby Brezza is perfect for you because it can sterilize and dry all your nursing accessories from bottles, pump parts, caps, etc. You don’t need to be selective on which bottle to fit because it takes up to six regardless of size and shape.
It takes up to 8 minutes to sterilize and drying the cycles running from 30 to 60 minutes. When it finishes sterilizing, it starts the drying cycle automatically, and you can leave it closed to keep your items sterile for 24 hours. You will also love that you can select from four functions using the easy-to-use control panel. Choose from sterilizer, sterilizer, and dryer, dryer only, or storage.
- It sterilizes and dries perfectly
- Easy to use
- Fits bottles of all shapes and size
- Offers wide range of settings to choose from
- It has a countdown timer
- It starts drying cycles automatically
- Some customers complain that it leaks even with the water added to the recommended level
- Not the best option for a small counter
- Even if it can handle different parts, it is hard to arrange items without crumbling over.
Best Steam Sterilizer: The First Years Germ Killer Electric Sterilizer
First Years Electric sterilizer is an efficient machine designed to kill all the germs lurking in your baby’s bottles, pacifiers, toys, pump parts, and more. Its unique design ensures that the heated steam reaches deep into the bottles hitting every spot for extra thorough sterilization.
The racks inside are very useful, allowing you to arrange many items, and it is spacious besides fitting up to six bottles.
You will also love that you can wash this machine by hand or the dishwasher. And it is BPA free so you can also be confident that no harmful chemicals will be transferred to your baby’s milk.
- Simple to use
- Adjustable racks help to fit different items easily
- It is fast in operation
- It leaves items wet after sterilizing
Best Microwave Baby Bottle Sterilizer: Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer
The Munchkin sterilizer is one of the most loved microwave sterilizer options and for obvious reasons. First, it is very affordable, coming at less than $15. It is also simple to operate and gets the job done fast and efficiently.
This simple machine is spacious enough to fit up to 4 bottles, standard and wide-necked, and other items like breast shields at once, and in just less than two minutes, they will be free of up to 99.9 percent of germs that can make your baby sick.
You will also appreciate how this model is made to provide safe operations. It has an open-away latch at the top to prevent steam burns and a heat resistant handle to keep your hands from getting burned as you remove it from the microwave. It also includes tongs so you can fish out the hot bottles safely once sterilizing is finished.
- Fast operations
- Simple to use
- Affordable pricing
- Offers various sterilizing settings so you can choose your preferred timing from 2, 4, and 6 minutes
- The lid is poorly designed, so it leaks hot water at the point where it meets the base
- It is a large model that requires quite a bit of space on your counter
- It might not fit some microwaves
Best Steam Bags: Medela Microbags
There is a reason why hundreds of parents are raving about (has a 4.9 out 5 rating on Amazon) the Medela Micro bags. These bags are super convenient when sterilizing your baby bottles.
If you are a working mama who needs to pump at work or are frequently on the move or short on counter space, these bags are easy-pack and small in size (like a Ziploc bag).
The Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam Bags are also the easiest for anyone to use. Put your bottles, nipples, pacifiers, pump parts, cups, and the likes in the bag, add water, and microwave for roughly 3 minutes to have sterile items you can use. You can also rest assured that these bags are BPA free so your baby will not be ingesting harmful chemicals.
You can get these bags in various package sizes depending on the price (which is very affordable by the way). For example, the package above has 4 boxes with a total of 20 bags, and each bag can be reused up to 20 times before it loses its seal integrity, so that’s real value for money too.
- Fast in sterilizing
- Easy to use
- Great for traveling
- Great pricing
- It does not have much space, so you will need to use multiple times if you have many items to sterilize
Best Adaptable Sterilizer: Baby bottle sterilizer Chicco 3-in-1
If you want a sterilizer that can be used for various functions, the Chicco 3-in-1 sterilizer is designed for just that. It is primarily an electric steam sterilizer with three functional modes.
First is the full-size model which conveniently sanitizes up to 6 bottles along with nipples, caps rings, and lids in under 12 minutes. The second is the compact Eco mode, which is ideal if you are on the move or you want to sanitize only a few items. This mode uses 30% less time and energy than the full size mode.
The last mode is the microwave mode, which is even more compact and sterilizes your bottles in less than 4 minutes- a lifesaver if you chance to run out of sterile bottles with your hungry baby in your arms. To switch to all these modes, it’s very easy, just a push of a button.
You will also love that it is designed to shut off automatically once it is done sterilizing, so you don’t have to hang around to watch, and if you don’t open the lid, your bottles can stay sterile for up to 24 hours. The Full size and Eco modes have a digital display countdown timer that lets you track the remaining time in a cycle.
- Combined electric and microwave steam systems
- 3-in-1 operation modes for different needs
- Spacious interior to fit many items at once
- Has the ability to sterilize in less than 4 minutes
- Provides storage for up to 24 hours
- Compact and ideal for travel
- Easy to use
- Fits different bottle brands
- Customers wish it could also dry
Baby bottle sterilizer vs boiling
Boiling is a common method used by many parents to make their baby bottles safe for their babies to use. While it is a great method to kill many household germs and bacteria, it is not enough to eliminate some heat-resistant bacteria and their spores. On the other hand, sterilization is very effective in getting rid of all these harmful microbes and their spores.
The second reason why you should choose sterilizing over boiling poses a much higher risk of getting burned accidentally. Imagine having a pot of boiling water every day, several times a day, for ten minutes with your toddler running around the kitchen-not a very safe feeling. Sterilizers are well covered and do not pose the risks of open fires and spluttering boiling water.
Thirdly, sterilizing is faster than boiling. The time it takes for the water to begin boiling is longer than the time some sterilizers take to finish sterilizing (microwave sterilizers, for example). If you have a newborn, you will appreciate that sterilizers can save you so much time since some even can dry your items, affording you more time to rest or attend to your baby.
The final reason is that boiling wears your items much harder than sterilizers. If you choose to boil, it will not be long before the nipples and bottles start to crack. Sterilizers will not damage your items if you adhere to manufacture instructions.
Baby bottle sterilizer or dishwasher?
A dishwasher is excellent in getting your dirty dishes and bottles sparkling, but it does not eliminate the germs that could make your baby sick unless your dishwasher is optimized for sterilizing.
Most dishwashers use water temperature of between 54 to 76 degrees Celsius to kill most germs the water has to get to at least 100 degrees Celsius. Sterilizers use steam at high temperatures to kill germs and bacteria.
The other disadvantage of using a dishwasher is that even if it can sterilize, you have to transfer the items to a sterile container to keep them sterile. With a bottle sterilizer, you can leave the items tightly sealed and they will remain sterile for 12 to 24 hours.
How do I clean baby bottle sterilizer?
Your sterilizer will come with a manual detailing the care instructions, but generally, most require just simple hand washing or dishwashing with mild soap and water for the removable parts. For the rest of the unit, you can wipe with a wet kitchen towel.
If you are not using distilled water, limescale (white chalky deposits) will start accumulating on your sterilizer unit’s heating pad. You need to remove these frequently to prolong your unit’s user life, and it’s really simple to do. Just fill the pad with a white vinegar and water solution for 30 minutes or more (even overnight), rinse with cold water followed by an empty cycle to dislodge any remaining particles. You can also use lemon water or buy descaling sachets, which are also effective.
How do I use a baby bottle Sterilizer?
It depends on the type of sterilizer you have. You begin by cleaning all your bottles and parts with warm soapy water. Then load the clean bottles in the sterilizer and add the recommended amount of water to the unit.
If you are using a microwave sterilizer, place the unit inside the microwave for the recommended time. After it finishes the cycle, let the steam disperse before removing it from the microwave to prevent getting burned. Leave the bottles to cool before using them. Use a clean cloth to dry the bottles if you need to use them immediately. You can also keep the lid closed to keep the bottles sterilized for use later.
If using an electric sterilizer, you will need to fill with water to the recommended level and plug it in. When arranging your bottles and nipples, ensure that the mouth faces downwards so that the steam can hit every spot efficiently.
When can you stop sterilizing bottles?
There is no harm in sterilizing for as long as your baby is using bottles, but it may not really make much of a difference once your baby can crawl around and is putting stuff in their mouth. Chances are that they will pick more germs that would be present in their bottles. That said, always ensure you thoroughly clean all their feeding accessories, teethers, and toys with hot water and mild soap. Also, sterilize whenever your child is recovering from an illness, so you don’t get the same microorganisms the immune system is working hard to fight are reintroduced.
Which baby bottle sterilizer is for a microwave?
Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Which baby bottle sterilizer comes with a dryer?
Wabi Baby Touch Sterilizer& Dryer
Papablic Steam Sterilizer & Dryer
Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer & Dryer
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at 10BabyGear. I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.