The Boon Orb is a steam bottle warmer with a small footprint and multiple parts. This unit has a tendency to overheat bottles and the setup time seriously hurts how quickly you can prep and heat a bottle for little ones. With poor test results for both ease of use and health and safety, the Orb presents challenges and almost every turn. On the upside, this warmer is easy to clean with several dishwasher friendly parts and a single chamber where all the parts are reachable. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to offset the difficulties we had using and heating with this warmer. If you are on a budget and were considering the Orb, for this reason, we think the Chicco NaturalFit is a better choice.
Boon Orb Review
Pros: Compact, dishwasher safe parts
Cons: Difficult to use, tendency to overheat after shut-off, no glass bottles
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Boon is part of a larger company, TOMY International, that also includes The First Years and JJ Cole. TOMY is a global designer and producer of toys and products for parents and young children. TOMY International's company mission is to "make the world smile" with innovative products and licensed characters.
The Boon Orb (blue) struggled to keep up with the pack with disappointing scores for health and safety and ease of use.
The sections below detail why the Orb was not a tester favorite.
Health and Safety
The Orb is a steam bath warmer that earned only 4 of 10 for health and safety. The steam technology allows it to heat bottles quicker, but the steam is hot and can lead to potential burns if you aren't careful; something sleep-deprived parents may find difficult in the middle of the night holding a wailing baby.
Following the instructions will yield results in the acceptable temperature range (91F at 3 minutes), but if you change the setting or forget to remove the bottle when the cycle is over, it can quickly overheat. For example, because there is no audible beep to signify when the heat cycle is over, the bottle could theoretically sit in the warmer too long. This issue can easily result in overheated contents. In our tests, the contents of the bottle reached 114F when left in the warmer for 12 minutes and 104F after only 5 minutes; this is the temperature where breastmilk begins to lose nutrients.
Ease of Use
The Boon is more complicated than it looks earning just a 4 of 10 for ease of use. While the initial setup of the warmer is simple and the instructions are fairly clear, actually putting it to use is another story. The warmer requires filling a small graduated tube for each use. The tube is small, and the markings can be hard to see, the amount of water required also varies based on the chart included with the Orb, which requires regular referencing.
The lines on the vial have arbitrary letters assigned to them, which means you could be lost if you lose the warming chart and get a new bottle or increase the bottle's contents. Plus, the fill lines on the tube are so close, it can take excessive time to fill the tube correctly. This prep is required for each use making the time to prep and heat similar to the time to heat of the slower water bath warmers.
The other problems with the Orb include that you can't use it with glass bottles or breastmilk storage pouches, and wide bottles will not fit which limits how you can use the warmer.
The Boon is reasonably efficient at warming with a score of 8 of 10. At recommended settings, turns off at 3 minutes with a temperature of 91F on average. However, you need to remove the bottle right away to prevent overheating to temperatures too hot for your baby and breastmilk. While it heats quickly, the lack of audible beep means you better watch this warmer like a hawk or set an additional timer.
It is important to test the contents temperature of each bottle before feeding your baby. After removing the bottle from the warmer, you should swirl the contents to mix in any hot spots before dropping some on the inside of your wrist. The contents should be warm but not hot.
Boon recommends a wait time of about 10 minutes between uses to allow the heating element to cool down. These instructions are fairly typical for steam warmers but it may make it a poor choice for multiple babies or daycare centers.
Ease of Cleaning
This is one of the metrics where the Orb stood out from the competition in our testing with a 7 of 10 where the average is 6. On a day-to-day basis, this unit only needs sponge wiping. The plastic basket is easy to remove exposing the hot plate, and the chamber is wide and easy to fit most hands inside. Mineral deposits need to be removed once a month by soaking the inside of the chamber for 2 hours with white vinegar. The accessory parts are cleaned separately by hand or in the dishwasher on the top rack.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz