Heats bottles and baby food jars. Off the charts in terms of efficiency and consistency. Easy to use despite the vast number of features.
Comes at a much higher price than similar models we tested.
Performs 4 functions in one unit - sterilizes drys, warms, and steams. Convenient features include 6-bottle capacity and adjustable compartments.
It's expensive, but considering all it does, you might not mind the price.
Advanced warming tech heats quickly while protecting nutrients. Doubles as a sterilizer.
Unit size is not ideal for large or non-traditional bottles.
Versatile, user-friendly design that abides by all of the safety standards set by the CDC and USDA.
Caution is required when using the highest setting to prevent overheating.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
It’s three in the morning. Is your baby crying for her bottle?
Any parent that has tried to calm a hungry baby in the middle of the night understands that the ability to warm up a bottle – fast – can be a lifesaver. Bottle warmers serve that purpose, and they remove some of the guesswork from the bottle-prep process.
With a flood of bottle warmers on the market, however, it can be hard to know where to start. There are bottle warmers with automatic timers, bottle warmers with food processors, and many bottle warmers in between.
At BestReviews, we talk to experts, test products, and pore over consumer reviews in order to find the products that will give you the best performance for your money. We don’t accept free manufacturer samples so that we can maintain an objective viewpoint.
We put together this shopping guide to help readers learn bottle-warming basics and beyond. If you’re shopping for a new bottle warmer, be sure to check out the products at the top of this page to see which are our favorite picks.
Which type of bottle warmer should you purchase? Below, we explore four broad bottle warmer categories.
A gentle bottle warmer brings the milk slowly to temperature (about 98°F) using a warm water bath. The appliance requires approximately five minutes to do its job. This slower process reduces your risk of overheating the milk.
A good bottle warmer will prevent hotspots by circulating heat evenly around the bottle. You’ll still want to stir or shake the milk before feeding your baby to create a consistent temperature.
A sanitizing bottle warmer harnesses the power of steam to warm milk and sanitize bottles. Some sanitizing bottle warmers can disinfect pacifiers and other baby items, but before you buy, check the warming chamber size to get an idea of what kinds of items would fit inside.
A sanitizing bottle warmer can save you the hassle of running your dishwasher or washing a bottle by hand – a benefit to many harried parents.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one baby food prep device, this is the bottle warmer for you. A combination bottle warmer can heat milk, sanitize bottles, and steam and blend food. Keep in mind that this type of appliance performs so many functions that it may not be the cream of the crop when it comes to warming bottles.
Regularly check the water reservoir in a steam warmer to be sure the water level isn’t too low. Some may need to be refilled every day, while others can hold enough water for several days.
A portable bottle warmer may serve your needs if you travel a lot. Some run on battery power, and some gain power from your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
A bottle warmer transfers heat to baby’s milk in one of two ways: via a warm-water bath or via steam.
A warm-water bath appliance circulates warm water around the bottle until it comes to temperature. It takes longer to warm the milk using this method, but overheating is less of a risk, and the milk tends to warm more evenly.
A steam bottle warmer has a heating element situated beneath a water chamber. As the element grows warmer, steam rises and warms the bottle. The milk heats fast, but it can be difficult to control its temperature, even when a timer is used. To be safe, you’ll need to stir or shake the bottle to prevent hotspots that could burn your baby’s mouth.
Cleaning your bottle warmer is highly important, but before you do, read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you clean it properly and don’t damage any components in the process.
If you’re not careful, your home can get overrun with specialized baby devices. A bottle warmer that performs more than one function can save you some space. If this matters to you, consider a bottle warmer that can also sterilize items or steam food.
If you have twins or triplets, you may need a double bottle warmer that warms two bottles at once. That way, you won’t have one baby unhappily waiting while a second bottle warms.
Hard water, with its high mineral content, can leave residue on a bottle warmer and decrease its warming efficiency. A mixture of vinegar and water can remove these deposits.
Sanitation is always a concern with baby products. Unfortunately, the water chambers of some steam warmers have been known to trap water and grow mold. Whatever type of bottle warmer you purchase, be sure it can be taken apart so that each component can be thoroughly washed and dried.
A timer with auto shut-off is not only convenient, it also helps prevent the milk from overheating. Furthermore, it can help prevent the water in the chamber from evaporating, which could burn out the heating element.
For the ultimate in safety, choose a bottle warmer that shuts off automatically when the milk reaches temperature and/or the water level gets too low.
Most bottle warmers take three to nine minutes to warm a bottle. Warming times can vary by the type of the bottle and the starting temperature of the milk.
Some manufacturers have developed feeding systems that include a breast pump, bottles, bottle warmers, and bottle sterilizers. These elements are designed to fit and work together. The bottle warmers in these systems can often only fit the bottles meant for use with the feeding system. A system like this works well if you need all of the components and your baby prefers the manufacturer’s bottle and nipple design.
Baby bottles come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, and some bottle warmers cannot fit certain types of bottles. However, a universal warming chamber is designed to fit most bottles, whether they be short, fat, tall, or angled. This offers greater versatility.
Some bottle warmers have a timer that you can program to begin heating at a certain time. For nighttime feedings, this is a helpful feature.
Some bottle warmers offer several warming settings; others have only one. A few warming settings you may find include the following.
Quick-Warm: Quick-warm settings are found on steam warmers. They quickly get hot and reduce the warming time. Be careful with this type of setting, as it is more likely to cause hotspots in the milk.
Stay-Warm: A stay-warm setting keeps the milk at temperature after it has completely heated. If you’re changing a diaper or someone comes to the door before you can get to the bottle, it will still be ready for your baby.
Starting Temperature Settings: Some bottle warmers allow you change the warming time based on the milk’s starting temperature. For example, it may elongate the heat time for frozen milk.
You’re going to be reading a display in the middle of the night when you haven’t had much sleep. That’s not easy. Thankfully, LED displays can be read in the dark. A bottle warmer with an LED display that includes one-touch controls makes late nights and early mornings that much easier.
Some bottle warmers barely take up more space than the bottle itself. A bottle warmer with a small footprint can easily be stored in your baby’s room or on your nightstand for nighttime feedings.
A warming basket has handles that fit inside the warming chamber. Bottle warmers that sterilize often have them. You can use the handles to remove a bottle or baby item without putting your hands inside the warming chamber. Considering how hot the chamber can get, that’s a nice safety feature to have.
Some baby bottle warmers include an insulated cooler attached to the warming chamber. These products are fantastic for nighttime feedings, because you can keep a bottle or two cool and ready to be warmed during the night. You don’t have to traipse down to the kitchen for a bottle; simply grab it out of the cooler and pop it into the warming chamber.
Do not clean the bottle warmer until it has completely cooled to prevent burning yourself.
Audio and visual alarms alert you when the milk is ready. It’s easy to forget about a warming bottle if you get busy with other things, so an alarm is a nice feature to have.
A night light is by no means a necessary feature, but if you keep a bottle warmer on your nightstand or in your baby’s room, it can make it easier to see what you’re doing and keep you from accidentally knocking the warmer over.
Less than $20: In this low price range, you can find some simple steam-powered bottle warmers. A product of this caliber will likely be small with basic controls, and it may or may not have a timer.
$25 to $50: In this price range, you will find some double bottle warmers and some bottle warmers with coolers. You will also find bottle warmers with some extra features – auto shut-off, sterilization function, or perhaps a warming basket.
$50 to $100: Bottle warmers in this price range often come as part of a feeding system. Many can sterilize multiple bottles and/or baby items at once. You’ll also find a few bottle warmers that can steam and puree food in this price range.
If you make your own baby food, a bottle warmer that can also steam and puree food is a versatile option. This type of warmer can often sanitize as well.
Pick the right size for your space. If space is tight, look for a bottle warmer with a small footprint. Many are small enough to fit on your nightstand for easy nighttime feedings.
Read the instructions first. Though operation of a bottle warmer may seem simple enough, you want to be certain you aren’t overheating your baby’s bottle.
Always check the temperature of the milk before feeding your baby. The skin on the inside of your wrist is particularly sensitive and makes a good place to test the milk. First, stir or shake the bottle. Then, squirt a small amount of milk on the inside of the wrist. If it feels neither cold nor warm, it’s likely at body temperature.
Q. Do I have to buy a bottle warmer made by the same manufacturer as my baby’s bottles?
A. Not necessarily. Baby feeding systems often include a bottle warmer, bottles, and sometimes a breast pump that all work together. While it can be nice to have a bottle warmer than perfectly fits the bottle, it usually isn’t necessary. If your baby has one type of bottle he loves, by all means, get the warmer that goes with it. Otherwise, a bottle warmer with a universal warming chamber works well, because your child may prefer a different type of bottle later on … or you may have another child who likes a different bottle style.
Q. Do bottle warmers have any audio or visual alarms to let me know when the bottle is warm?
A. Some bottle warmers have a light that goes off when the bottle has reached temperature; others have an audio alarm in case you are in another room. Many also have a “keep warm” setting to keep the bottle at temperature until you’re able to get it.
Be wary of models that have no alarm or auto shut-off feature of any kind. You’ll have to do the timing yourself and keep a close eye on the bottle, which can be tough if you’re exhausted and taking care of a newborn.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.