Bottle warmers are a convenient way for new parents to ensure that their child’s milk or formula is at the perfect temperature, which can save a lot of time. Of course, whether or not they’re convenient enough to be worth the cost is going to depend on the parents in question.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, we’ve found that the Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer stands out from the competition, being quick and accurate in temperature. Of course nothing’s perfect, so we’ve made sure that we’ve found something for everyone.
Below is a list of our five favorite bottle warmers on the market at the time of this guide’s publication, and then we’ll help you make the right decision for your family.
If you’re looking to maximize the value of your dollar and get something quick and convenient, you’ll love the Phillips Advent Bottle Warmer. For those who don’t need the extra speed but want safeguards, the Premium edition is a bit more costly but will cover you on that front.
Top 5 Bottle Warmers
|Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer||Circulating Water Bath||No||Check Price|
|Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer||Circulating Water Bath||Yes||Check Price|
|elfinbaby Baby Bottle Warmer||Steam||No||Check Price|
|The First Years Quick Serve||Steam||Yes||Check Price|
|Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer||Water Bath||N/A||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Bottle Warmer
Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer
The fast version of the Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer was our favorite of those that we tested out. It lacks some of the functions of higher-end bottle warmers but it usually runs about half the cost of our runner-up and it’s extremely quick and useful.
This isn’t a high-tech bottle warmer by any means. It uses a circulating water bath to gently swirl the bottle as well and heats up quite quickly. There really aren’t any safeguards built into this model, so you’ll still need to monitor the temperature closely but it can heat up a room temperature bottle to the correct temperature in about three minutes which makes it extremely convenient.
If you’re using it back to back it’ll heat the next few bottles very quickly as well. Just be sure to monitor it, since there are no built-in safeguards for temperature, it’s just going to heat things as quickly as possible.
For the price and utility, however, the majority of our reviewers fell in love with this one. It may require a bit more monitoring, but it’s safer than using a microwave and much more convenient than having to heat up water on the stove.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely quick
- Easy to use
- Useful for back-to-back bottle heating
- Premium version available for those who want to step things up
- No alarm
- No built-in safeguards for temperature, you need to monitor it
2. Runner Up for Best Bottle Warmer
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer
The Kiinde Kozii is often talked about, and for good reason: it’s one of the best bottle warmers on the market. Unfortunately, it’s also quite expensive so it may not be worth it for those who are only going to be using the appliance for a single child.
If you can afford it, however, you’re in for an easy-to-use bottle warmer that stands head and shoulders above the competition. The standout feature? A circulating water bath with a large reservoir. You don’t need to worry about evaporation as often and it’s easy to use dial didn’t have anyone scratching their head.
While it lacks an audible alarm, it does have a visual indicator and an auto-shut off which will help to keep things from overheating. Once you have the dial down you won’t have many issues with things getting too hot, although it’s still best practice to ensure that you check on things before serving them.
It can also accommodate just about any bottle, bag, or jar which needs to be warmed which lends it to a lot of different uses.
There are a lot of bottle warmers on the market, but the Kiinde Kozii steps it up a notch. Just be aware it runs a little bit expensive and you’ll have to get used to the dial.
Pros and Cons
- Useful for food, breastmilk, and formula
- Dial works for consistent temperature
- Large reservoir to avoid constant top-ups
- Automatic shut-off
- No alarm
- Rather expensive
3. Best Multi-Function Bottle Warmer
elfinbaby Baby Bottle Warmer
This multi-function bottle warmer, from little known brand elfinbaby, is great for people who don’t mind the additional complexity involved in it’s usage.
It heats quickly and efficiently, which is a nice touch, but there are others that function a bit better as a bottle warmer. Instead, the primary draw here comes from the fact that the steam bath has a built-in function for sterilizing bottles with steam. Since milk is a nutrient rich environment bottles periodically need to be completely cleaned and steam is a great way to do it.
On top of that, it fits most of the bottles on the market and it has a food heating function. This latter function can also be used to heat bottles more quickly. In addition, it can heat two bottles at the same time, which is great for homes with multiple babies running the roost.
Unfortunately, you’ll still have to monitor the bottle since there’s no alarm or automatic shut off. On the other hand, being able to sterilize bottles and heat two at the same time is a big advantage over the other multi-function warmers on the market.
If you’d like a multi-function bottle warmer, take a closer look at this one. It’s not without issues, but it’s got a leg up on most of the competition.
Pros and Cons
- Multiple functions
- Can heat two bottles at the same time
- Warms quickly on food setting
- Does a good job at thawing breastmilk
- A bit touchy with the timer
- Not good for glass bottles
4. Best Bottle Warmer for Breastmilk
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer
This is another steam model, and the truth is that this one is a doozy. It heats quickly, has an automatic shut off as an additional safety measure, and is super convenient to use compared to the majority of steam models.
This is due to the fact that it comes with an included measuring vial. Steam units require more precise measurements of water, and this one makes it a lot easier to handle when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night.
It also has an included basket for warming food or sterilizing pacifiers.
The only real problem is that it tends to accumulate scale quickly if you have hard water. Most of our reviewers found themselves worrying about the accumulation of calcium deposits within a week or two of regular use but it really depends on the make-up of the water in your area.
If you’re looking for a gentle way to heat breast milk without having to worry about denaturing your then this one is definitely worth a second look. Just be aware it takes a bit more maintenance than our favorites.
Pros and Cons
- Great for warming breastmilk
- Included measuring vial to make adding water easy
- Automatic shut off
- Included basket for extra uses
- A bit difficult to get the hang of
- Tends to accumulate scale quickly
5. Best Travel Bottle Warmer
Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer
One of the main problems with most bottle warmers is the fact that they’re not always handy to use when you’re on the road. Tommee Tippee comes in with this handy little device which has superior insulation to keep hot water at the right temperature all day.
Is it a glorified thermos? Basically, but the price is right and the widened mouth means that you can place the bottle within and it allows you to heat formula, milk, and food while you’re on the go without any difficulties.
All you need to do is heat the water before you leave the home, place it in the flask, and then place the bottle or food you’re looking to warm within when it comes time to feed.
It’s a simple device, but it doesn’t require electricity, the price is right, and parents who are often on the road might just find it to be invaluable.
Pros and Cons
- No electricity required
- Sleek and easy to store
- Comes with an included cup for the bath
- Holds temperature for more than twelve hours
- Basically a glorified thermos
- Not compatible with all bottles
Who Needs a Bottle Warmer?
Bottle warmers aren’t perfect, let’s get that out of the way. Of the many we had our reviewers test out, none seemed to operate quickly, efficiently, and brought everything to an exact temperature everytime.
We recommend if you’re going to pick one up that you also get a no-touch thermometer which can read liquid temperatures as well. At the very least you’ll need some way to ensure the temperature is right before you hand the bottle off.
On the other hand, they can be quite convenient for many people. The best of them will allow you to keep a bottle warm at all times, making feeding time much more convenient than the old-school tactic of placing a bottle in a bowl of warm water.
Keep in mind that for the most part there’s no real medical reason to keep a bottle warm. It’s just a matter of taste, and the majority of children much prefer warmed formula, so there’s no real “perfect” temperature to shoot for. If your child will accept it, you can serve formula or breast milk room temperature or even cold.
Since there’s no perfect temperature to shoot for, bottle warmers have a wide range of different temperatures they’ll heat the bottle to.
For most people, they’re primarily useful if you have a child who is fussy about the temperature of their milk or for homes where are multiple children who are still being bottle fed. The latter situation in particular is a good time to pick one up, since heating multiple bottles for a ton of kids each day in a bowl of warm water is going to waste a lot of time.
They’re also useful if you don’t have easy access to hot water or if you’re dissatisfied with the results you get from using warm water.
What Am I Looking for in a Bottle Warmer?
Since they’re more of a convenience item than a necessity, you’ll want to ensure that the bottle warmer you get actually makes your life easier. You can get away with cutting some corners if you really need one and you’re on a tight budget, but most of the things we looked for were centered around convenience.
Steam or Circulating?
Our favorites were circulating water baths. There’s two reasons for this: the first is that they’re simply easier to use. They don’t require as much precision in metering out the water contained within, which makes things easier during groggy mornings.
Water baths also tend to allow you to re-use the warmer back-to-back for those families who need to heat multiple bottles in a row.
Steam does seem to work more quickly, but you’ll have to precisely measure the water each time you add it.
The best of the circulating water baths will also drain the hot water into a reservoir once the cycle is done, to prevent overheating of the bottle in question.
Easy to Operate
Most people will find themselves heating bottles in stressful situations. It’s just a fact of life with a baby and ensuring that the model you’ve got operates in a relatively fool-proof manner is the best practice.
Easy operation and a signal that the warmer is done with it’s cycle are pretty much essential. Otherwise you may as well just use a bowl of warm water or make formula with hot water in the first place since both of those methods are easy and relatively easy to handle.
A bottle warmer needs to be super convenient to use, at least moreso than just making warm formula in the first place. This proved to be a lot harder than it first appears, most bottle warmers really aren’t a whole lot more convenient than the traditional methods, especially if you’re only trying to heat one bottle at a time.
Most of the convenience of bottle warmers comes from being able to heat them back-to-back without having to do anything else to the warmer in the meantime. For those who’ve had children back-to-back or twins they can be pretty invaluable.
This means those which need the water changed or have other maintenance issues are right out for the average person, as long as they have access to hot water then it can be a pain to have to deal with all of that.
Fit a Wide Range of Bottles
Bottles come in a ton of different configurations, sizes, and materials. Ideally, a bottle warmer will be able to handle any bottle you throw at it, from mini-plastic bottles to large glass ones. In practice, this often isn’t practical so you’ll want to at least make sure it can handle the bottles you have in your home before you commit to a purchase.
Most of the models we looked at didn’t seem to do well with particularly wide bottles, so keep that in mind if you prefer to use them.
Heat Quickly and Efficiently
A bottle warmer needs to be able to heat up relatively quickly. Milk is a nutrient-rich environment and if it takes longer than fifteen minutes you run the risk of increasing bacterial growth.
That means you’re going to want something which heats up relatively quickly, since bacterial growth primarily occurs at body temperatures and the recommended temperature is 98°F.
You also need something which won’t get over 104°F or you run the risk of your baby getting burnt by the formula or milk. Once again you’re going to want to make sure you check the temperature of the milk before you serve it, especially if your bottle warmer is new.
There’s another factor here: some bottle warmers can change the properties of breast milk, so if you’re pumping and filling then you’re going to need to make sure that the bottle warmer you’re working with is compatible.
For most people, a bottle warmer is going to end up being used for less than a year and they really only have a single function.
That means spending a ton of money on one is kind of an exercise in futility. Try to stay under $50 for a good combination of a well-functioning bottle warmer and a decent price for what’s going to end up being a single use appliance.
Using Your Bottle Warmer
Every model of bottle warmer we looked at had something in common: they used water to heat things up. Whether it was a bath or steam, they tend to be pretty simple devices.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, it turned out that pretty much every model out there is capable of overheating a bottle if you’re not careful with the cycle. Even thirty seconds too long ended up making a huge difference.
So, whether or not you’re stoked with your bottle warmer… you’re still going to end up having to monitor it. The main difference was the length of the cycles and whether or not you have to be super careful about the top end temperature.
The alternative to using a bottle warmer is pretty simple: heat some water on the stove or pull hot water from the tap and set the bottle in it. This works best with plastic bottles, since glass tends to take much longer to heat.
One thing to be careful of though: don’t use a microwave to heat pre-mixed formula. If you’re going to have to use a microwave to heat the water then do it in a separate container from the bottle and stir it separately.
Microwaves can cause hotspots, which can injure your baby unintentionally. By heating and then mixing it in a separate container you’ll be able to avoid this since the stirring action with formula will even out the temperature.
Microwaves can also lead to a misleading temperature differential between the bottle and the milk or formula contained within it. If you do opt to use one, make sure you check the temperature with a thermometer or splatter a couple of drops on your arm before allowing your baby to feed.
It should be about skin temperature before you feed. If it feels hot… well, it’s going to be too hot for a baby’s sensitive mouth and throat.
Just avoid microwaving breast milk, it can cause an overall degradation of the proteins in the milk, kill off beneficial microfauna, and generally make a mess of things.
Hot water baths are undoubtedly the best option for those who are planning on heating bottles without a warmer. It’s also a bit more convenient than a lot of the bottle warmers on the market for a single bottle.
The Right Temperature
For the most part, 98.6°F is about where you want to place formula or milk.
The reasoning is easy: breast milk is normally taken directly from the mother by the child. This means it’s the optimal temperature, and only a few degrees higher is enough to cause damage to a baby’s sensitive mouth.
Making sure you’re at the right temperature can be done in a few ways:
- For extremely accurate results, a thermometer is the best idea. Many no-contact thermometers have a built-in feature which allows for you to measure the temperature of liquids. These are good for checking bath water as well.
- A quick and dirty method for measuring temperature is to just squirt it on the inside of your wrist. It should be roughly the same temperature as your skin. The inside of the wrist is extremely sensitive, making it the best place to test.
Of course, if you can get your baby to drink cold or room temperature formula or milk then you can usually avoid having to warm things up. It’s a good way to go about it, and more and more parents are starting to get their children used to these temperatures early on.
If you’re stuck heating the water, then it’s important that whatever method you use is reliable. For instance, hot water from the tap is usually the same temperature at all times, which makes it a good way to go. All of the bottle warmers we looked at were pretty reliable, so long as they were properly watched, as well.
You may also want to let a bottle heat up on the counter for a bit first, a couple of degrees can make a large difference in how quickly a bottle heats up in the bottle warmer.
Too high is much worse than too low when it comes to baby bottles, since higher temperatures can degrade plastic bottles, damage proteins in the milk, and generally wreck havoc on things.
Baby bottle warmers may not be a necessity, but they sure are convenient for fussy babies or homes with multiple children. Making sure that you make the right choice when you’re looking is the difference between something awesome and something which is more of a pain than just running the tap.
So, if you think you’re a good fit, pick up a good one today and you’ll be in great hands the next time you need to warm up a bottle in the middle of the night.