The Chicco NaturalFit warmer easily earned our Best Value award with a reasonable price tag and simple design it is easy to use and consistently warms bottles to the same temperature. This unit is water bath type making it safer than steam, but it tends to take more time to reach a good temperature for little ones with a shut-off tie of 5:30. This Chicco has a straightforward knob interface, and the water you need is the same every time no matter what kind of bottle or how many ounces it has in it. This warmer is compact making it good for travel or smaller kitchens. Overall, we think it is a good buy for families on a budget who just want to get the job done and don't need all the bells and whistles.
Chicco NaturalFit Review
Pros: Simple, safe, keep bottle warm for up to an hour
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Enrico Catelli started the Chicco (kee-ko) company which is which is now part of the of larger Artsana Group that produces medical and baby supplies. Chicco is one of the most popular brand names in baby gear in the US and Europe, designing gear for newborns up to preschool age children. Chicco makes a variety of gear types from warmers to strollers and lots of stuff in between. You can find Chicco in over 120 countries.
The NaturalFit (blue) performed well during testing with a high rank and lower price making it a shoo-in for Best Value winner.
This warmer is a straightforward water bath warmer with impressive results for ease of use.
Health and Safety
The Chicco NaturalFit has some features for health and safety earning a 7 of 10 for this metric.
This warmer uses water bath technology with temperature control instead of steam which can potentially cause scalding injuries. In testing, milk temperatures did not exceed 112F even when the bottle was left in the warmer for up to 12 minutes. With only two settings, there is no "max-out" and the unit shuts off automatically at 5:30 minutes with an audible beep and green light. However, if the bottle is left inside the warmer after the beep, it will stay warm (for up to an hour in our testing). However, use caution as bottle contents can reach temperatures in excess of 112F (in our tests), which is too warm for little ones and above 104F where breastmilk starts to lose nutrients.
Ease of Use
The NaturalFit is one of the easiest options to use earning a 9 of 10 in our testing for ease of use. Setup is straightforward and it comes with a simple manual.
The NaturalFit is a single reservoir unit that requires 1/2 cup water for each use with bottle contents over 6 ounces. It is easy to fill and somewhat forgiving if you are slightly off. The dial has two settings for bottles or food containers and a red light indicates it is set and warming. When the cycle is over it will beep and the light will turn green. The warmer will stay on for up to an hour if you don't turn it off. This will keep the bottle warm if you get distracted, but you should always check the temperature of the bottle contents as it will increase as it sits in the bath.
The warming chamber is compatible with a variety of bottle shapes and materials including popular options from our Best Baby Bottle Review and breastmilk storage bags.
The slower heating time of a water bath warmer limited the NaturalFit earning it only 7 of 10 in our tests for warming efficiency.
In our testing, the timer shuts off around 9:15 minutes with a content temperature of 97F. However, because the warmer stays "on" for up to an hour, the contents can reach temperatures in excess of 112F (in our tests this took 12 minutes). The temperature when the timer went off is close to body temperature which is ideal and below 104F when breastmilk begins to lose nutrients.
A potential negative is the wait tie between bottle warmings for this unit. Chicco advises that the unit should be cooled completely before warming a second bottle. This cooling can take up to 30 minutes, making it a poor choice if you have more than one baby or want to use it in a nursery setting.
You should always check the temperature of the bottle's contents before feeding your baby. Swirl the contents after you remove it from the warmer and place a few drops on the inside of your wrist. The milk should be warm but not hot.
Ease of Cleaning
The Chicco is easy to clean, but the overnight descaling process caused a nosedive in its score for cleaning with only a 5 of 10 for this metric.
Daily maintenance of this unit is simple and includes drying and wiping. It is the monthly descaling that causes the problem. While filing it with a vinegar/water combo is simple, you need to soak it overnight which is when you may need to use the unit. We think this is a design flaw given that overnight use is when many parents find a warmer the most useful. To avoid this issue, you can start your soak first thing in the morning, so it is over before bedtime. If you need to heat a bottle during the day you can choose a simplier method of running it under hot tap water or swirling it in heated water in a bowl.
Chicco offers another warmer with a faster warming time, but there are some drawbacks.
- Chicco NaturalFit Digital is a steam bath, digital warmer with a removable bottle basket and significantly faster warming time of almost half the non-digital NaturalFit. However, this warmer has a higher risk of steam related injuries and a more complex user interface that makes it harder to use. If time is a priority and you don't mind the additional attention required to avoid injuries, then this NaturalFit could be the one for you.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz