Dr. Brown's Deluxe Review
Pros: Count-down timer, flip-top lid
Cons: Difficult to clean, hot steam, not compatible with wide bottles
Manufacturer: Dr Brown's
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Dr. Brown's started in 1996 with an innovative baby bottle with an internal venting system designed to prevent air ingestion. Inspired by Dr. Brown's moms, the company continues to develop products that are functional and good for the baby. Dr. Brown's puts a focus on product research and development investing time to create quality products.
Health and Safety
The Deluxe earned a significantly below-average score for health and safety; in fact, one of the lowest in the competition. Since it uses steam heat to warm a bottle, the flip-top lid contains the heat during the warming cycle. While this helps the warmer heat faster and prohibits random steam from escaping, which could cause burns, it also means that intense steam will come out when you open the lid. This steam requires the use of caution to avoid potential scalding.
Following the manufacturer heating instructions, the unit will typically turn-off before the milk becomes too hot. It took us a bit of fiddling to find that sweet spot for warming, given the glass bottle and silicone sleeve we used for testing. The contents were only 64F using the manufacturer's instructions but reached 157F when operated at maximum heat and 80F with our adjustments for glass. This potential for overheating makes it necessary to take the bottle out of the warmer when the cycle is over as it will continue to warm if left inside the chamber. If it warms over 104F, this will kill nutrients of breastmilk, not to mention being far too hot for your little one to drink.
The Deluxe has a loud audible end-of-cycle beep, but if you miss the beep for whatever reason, the bottle could overheat while you wait.
Ease of Use
Dr. Brown's is easy to use, earning an exceptionally high score in this metric. With a somewhat unique attached user guide and water reservoir, this unit is easier to use than much of the competition. Lastly, it has an electronic countdown timer with memory, so it will remember its last setting, which we found to be a time-saver throughout the day when heating similarly-sized bottles.
Internally, there is a flip basket that adjusts to accommodate either short or tall bottles. Unfortunately, this device won't fit the wider bottles like the Tommee Tippee Glass feeding bottle and Comotomo or breastmilk storage bags.
Dr. Brown's Deluxe warmer works with glass but only thermo-resistant glass like that found in AVENT Glass, Dr. Brown's Glass, and the Lifefactory Glass Bottle which are borosilicate.
Dr. Brown's earned an average score for warming efficiency. At the recommended warming setting, this unit automatically shuts off at 2:50 minutes with a final temperature of 64F, which is somewhat on the colder side, given the ideal temperature is a body temperature of 98.6F. If left inside the device, it took 5 minutes to reach 80F. So, you can leave it inside for another 2 minutes and set a separate timer.
This unit does not need cooling time before a subsequent bottle is heated. If you heat another bottle within 15 minutes, the device will reduce the heating time automatically.
Bottle contents should be swirled and tested before giving to your baby. Place several drops on the inside of your wrist to check that the contents are warm but not hot.
Ease of Cleaning
We feel the Deluxe is challenging to clean and maintain, earning it a meager score in this metric. First, the water reservoir has a tiny opening that is virtually impenetrable to a cleaning utensil. This design means it is potentially subject to developing mildew after consistent use. The removable baskets are only top rack dishwasher safe, but unfortunately, the water reservoir is not.
Descaling every four weeks is necessary, according to Dr. Brown's. To do so, you must run a 2-ounce white vinegar to 4-ounce cold water solution through the device via the water reservoir while it is running. This process requires proper ventilation as it causes the emitting of vinegar steam. To minimize hard mineral build-up, you should consider using distilled water, as shown in Dr. Brown's video below, as the chamber is deep and hard to reach. The design makes it impossible to get a cloth to the hot plate for cleaning.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz