Dr. Brown's Deluxe bottle warmer is a steam warmer with a flip-top lid and side reservoir. We like that you don't need to fill the water every time and the user interface is easy enough to use, but it is difficult to clean and doesn't work with the popular wide bottle styles. Our tests also show it is easy to overheat bottle contents if it sits in the chamber after the heat cycle is over. This warmer heats relatively quickly which is good but the steam technology and flip top lid that captures the steam can potentially cause injuries if you aren't careful when you open the chamber to remove the bottle. Overall, this isn't the best warmer no matter what features or functions you want.
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.
The Dr. Brown's Deluxe (blue) is a steam warmer that did not perform well in our tests.
While this unit has a handy side reservoir, it did not perform well for health and safety or ease of cleaning.
Health and Safety
The Deluxe earned only 3 of 10 for health and safety which is better than only one other warmer. Utilizing steam heat 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. If it warms over 104F, this will kill nutrients of breastmilk not to mention being 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 a 9 of 10 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, count-down 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 Feeding 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 a 5 of 10 for warming efficiency. At the recommended warming setting, this unit automatically shut off at 2:50 minutes with a final temperature of 64F, which is somewhat on the colder side given the ideal temperature is 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 scoring a 5 of 10. 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 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 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