In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Born Free Tru-Temp Review

Not recommended
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Price:   $60 List | $265 at Amazon
Pros:  Water reservoir, auto shut-off, included cooler
Cons:  Expensive, bulky, many parts, underperformed
Manufacturer:   Born Free
By Ruth Traxler, Ben Traxler, & Juliet Spurrier, MD  ⋅  Jun 27, 2016
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 7
  • Health/Safety - 40% 4
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7
  • Warming Efficiency - 25% 4
  • Ease of Cleaning - 5% 4

The Skinny

The Born Free Tru-Temp received an overall score of 49 of 100 in our bottle warmer round-up. For such a large presence, we found it cumbersome and underwhelming in performance with poor heating ability. Its strength lay in ease of use with an automatic shut-off and LED indicator signaling when it is on. Additionally, it has an attached water reservoir and remembers most recent settings.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Born Free Tru-Temp is the only warmer in our review that includes an insulated cooler with two freezer packs. This can be handy for storing night time bottles within the bedroom or nursery for easy access.

Performance Comparison


The Born Free Tru-Temp underwhelms in the heating department and is bulky with many parts and takes some leg work to find the perfect settings. The control dial has 3 buttons: On/Off/Start (top)  House for room temperature (left)  and Snowflake for refrigerated (right).
The Born Free Tru-Temp underwhelms in the heating department and is bulky with many parts and takes some leg work to find the perfect settings. The control dial has 3 buttons: On/Off/Start (top), House for room temperature (left), and Snowflake for refrigerated (right).

Health and Safety


The Tru-Temp scored a 4 of 10 in health and safety. It uses steam heat to warm which is continually emitted when on which in our opinion presents a potential burn hazard. Although has an auto shut-off and LED indicator on its dial, it lacks and end of cycle beep. Interestingly, this device lacked oomph in heating, typically under-heating refrigerated milk in a sleeved glass bottle, so you will probably need to ramp up settings in this scenario. Throughout our testing, even using the maximum heat settings, the temperature of the milk never exceeded 102F/38.8C.

Ease of Use


The Born Free scored a 7 of 10 in ease of use. There is a water reservoir which means dealing with the sink isn't necessary with every use; but watch for leaking. The back of the warmer has an attached warming chart and the device does have memory capability for the previous setting. We wish, however, that the dial was in minutes so that it is clear up front how much time it takes to heat a bottle as there is no end of cycle beep. And, the LED status light on the dial is on for the entire cycle, not just when ready. It would be nice if it switched color at least.
Born Free Tru-Temp's water reservoir is easy to refill and install  but watch out for water spillage. We found that it lasted for 1 to 2 days  depending on usage frequency.
The cooler is detachable from the main unit. Warmer (left)  Cooler (right).
Two ice packs and 2-3 bottles can fit in the Born Free Tru-Temp's attached cooler.

In theory, the cooler seems like a neat addition, but we found it only added to its overall bulkiness and doesn't firmly attach to the warmer. Instructions are geared specifically toward the use of Born Free bottles, so it does take some trial and error to find the correct settings if you are using another type of bottle.

Tommee Tippee Feeding bottles fit into the warming chamber nicely whereas Comotomo bottles (pictured) just squeak into it.
Tommee Tippee Feeding bottles fit into the warming chamber nicely whereas Comotomo bottles (pictured) just squeak into it.
It does fit even wide mouth bottles, although the Comotomo just barely squeezes in the warming chamber.

Warming Efficiency


The Born Free scored a 4 of 10 in warming efficiency. At recommended settings, it took 1:54 to heat to 52F, so this really entails some leg work to find the right settings when using a glass bottle with silicone sleeve. At maximum settings, it took 4:00 to heat to 80F. For consecutive warming of another bottle, it is necessary to wait 3 minutes in between uses.

Ease of Cleaning


The Tru-Temp earned 4 of 10 in ease of cleaning. For one, the water reservoir has nooks and crannies that make it difficult to thoroughly clean. And, the more parts anything has, the more to clean which is certainly the case here. De-scaling is recommended every 4 weeks by pouring 2 ounces of white vinegar directly onto the heating element and letting sit for 2 hours. After wiping away residue, rinse warming chamber out.

Best Applications


For parents who desire limited up and around in the middle of the night, this would be a nice option in theory with an included cooler and water reservoir. However, because it underwhelms in the heating department and has steam heat, we recommend purchasing the Kiinde Kozii along with a separate cooler system. The Kiinde has a retractable water reservoir along with a gentle warming water bath.

Value


You are better off spending your $70 on the Editor's Choice Kiinde Kozii. We do not recommend falling for the Tru-Temp's included cooler system which we found to be cumbersome and underwhelming.

Conclusion


We recommend you consider one of the higher scoring competing products instead of buying the Born Free Tru-Temp.

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Ruth Traxler, Ben Traxler, & Juliet Spurrier, MD