In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Dr. Brown's Deluxe Review

Can overheat breastmilk and tough to clean
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Price:   $45 List | $35 at Amazon
Pros:  Lit count-down timer, flip-top lid contains steam
Cons:  Difficult to clean, not compatible with Comotomo and Tommee Tippee bottles
Manufacturer:   Dr Brown's
By Ruth Traxler, Ben Traxler, & Juliet Spurrier, MD  ⋅  Jun 27, 2016
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 7
  • Health/Safety - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5
  • Warming Efficiency - 25% 5
  • Ease of Cleaning - 5% 1

The Skinny

Dr. Brown's Deluxe bottle warmer overall scored a 52 of 100 performing average in health and safety, ease of use, and warming efficiency, but below average in ease of cleaning. It heats via steam with an attached flip-top lid that makes it is less likely to be unintentionally blasted with heat. While some troubleshooting based upon Dr. Brown's recommended warming settings may be necessary, by all means, do not switch to maximum settings; in our testing, using this warmer on maximum settings resulted in experience, this strategy resulted in overheating.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Dr. Brown's Deluxe is designed to be compatible with all of Dr. Brown's bottles, but works with other standard, narrowly-shaped bottles. It scored fourth in our bottle warmer round-up, but a long way off, 25 total points below, the second-place Best Value award winning Chicco NaturalFit which makes the Deluxe sort of a hard sell at $10 more.

Performance Comparison


Dr. Brown's in action; as this is a steam heat device  the flip-top lid is a great safety-conscious feature which helps minimize heat emission and potential contact.
Dr. Brown's in action; as this is a steam heat device, the flip-top lid is a great safety-conscious feature which helps minimize heat emission and potential contact.

Health and Safety


Dr. Brown's has a 10" high  vertical design with a flip-top lid that helps to contain hot steam produced during a heating cycle.
Dr. Brown's has a 10" high, vertical design with a flip-top lid that helps to contain hot steam produced during a heating cycle.
The Deluxe scored a 6 of 10 in health and safety. Utilizing steam heat, it does have a flip-top lid which serves to contain heat during the warming cycle. We appreciate this added safety measure as it minimizes the potential for skin to come into contact with very hot steam.

If manufacturer heating instructions are followed, the device will typically turn off before milk becomes too hot. Because we used a glass bottle with a silicone sleeve, manufacturer's recommended warming settings yielded a cold bottle with auto shut-off at 2:50 at a milk temperature of 57F. It took a bit of fiddling to find that sweet spot for warming; with auto shut-off at 5:00, milk temperature reached 97F. This makes it necessary to take the bottle out straightaway, since the bottle it will continue to warm if left inside and eventually overheat milk. With one audible and loud beep to signal end of cycle completion, the Deluxe alerts you when to take the bottle out. Yet, it is easy to tune this sound out, so setting another timer isn't a bad idea.

Ease of Use


Dr. Brown's earned a 5 of 10 in ease of use. Similar to the Born Free Tru-Temp, it has an attached water reservoir which only needs to be refilled every day or two. There is also an attached quick reference guide for standard, narrow bottles on the back of the device. Anything else will necessitate a peek at the instruction manual. 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.
The water chamber of the Dr. Brown's fills easily at the sink  but watch out for spilling when you turn it upside down and slide it into place on the warmer.
The quick reference warming chart for Dr. Brown's is printed on the back of the warmer in several languages. We found that some adjustment to the recommended times was required to reach an optimal temperature.

Internally, there is a flip basket that adjusts to accommodate either short or tall bottles. Unfortunately, this device won't fit the wider, more popular baby bottles like the Best Value Tommee Tippee Feeding (below left) and Top Pick Comotomo (below right). However, compatible wide bottles include Playtex Nurser, AVENT Glass, Dr. Brown's Glass, and Munchkin Latch.

Unfortunately, we can not recommend use of Born Free Glass bottles with Dr. Brown's Deluxe warmer as only thermo-resistant glass should be used. We are unable to confirm that Born Free's glass is thermo-resistant like AVENT Glass, Dr. Brown's Glass, and the Lifefactory Glass Bottle which are made of borosilicate. Furthermore, although still available on Amazon, Born Free products have been discontinued.
Stuck!  One problem we had with the Dr. Brown's Deluxe Bottle Warmer is that it couldn't house extra wide bottles like Tommee Tippee or Comotomo.
Sadly  the Dr. Brown's Deluxe doesn't fit Best Value Tommee Tippee Feeding or Top Pick Comotomo.

Warming Efficiency


Dr. Brown's scored an 5 of 10 in warming efficiency. At recommended warming setting, as mentioned, it took 2:50 minutes to reach 57F at auto shut-off. If left inside the device, however, it took 5 minutes to reach 80F which is faster than the Kiinde Kozii by 50 seconds. So, you could just leave it inside for another 2 minutes and set a separate timer.

One nice thing nice about the Deluxe is that it does not need cooling time before a subsequent bottle is heated. Within 15 minutes, the device will reduce heating time by a pro-rated amount.

Ease of Cleaning


The Deluxe was the most difficult to clean and maintain in our testing and scored a miserable 1 of 10. First of all, the water reservoir has a tiny opening and is basically impenetrable to a cleaning utensil. This means it is subject to developing mildew after a period of consistent use. The removable baskets are top rack dishwasher safe but unfortunately the water reservoir is not.

Descaling every 4 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. This will require proper ventilation when doing so as a vinegar steam will be emitted. To minimize hard mineral build-up, it may not be a bad idea to use distilled water in the device as shown in the Dr. Brown's video below as the internal chamber is very deep and hard to reach. The way it is designed makes it impossible to actually get a cloth to the hot plate for cleaning.
Dr. Brown's internal chamber is narrow and tall which makes it one of the most difficult warmers to clean and de-scale in our side-by-side review. This also means that not all wide bottles are compatible with it; those widely designed bottles that do fit include the Playtex Nurser  AVENT Natural Glass  Munchkin Latch  BornFree Glass  and Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass.
Dr. Brown's internal chamber is narrow and tall which makes it one of the most difficult warmers to clean and de-scale in our side-by-side review. This also means that not all wide bottles are compatible with it; those widely designed bottles that do fit include the Playtex Nurser, AVENT Natural Glass, Munchkin Latch, BornFree Glass, and Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass.

Best Applications


We feel the Deluxe is best used for those heating formula and with multiples where back-to-back use is needed. It works best with narrow bottles but will fit some wider bottles as noted above. However, if you are using glass bottles with the Dr. Brown's Deluxe, make sure they fabricated of thermo-resistant glass.

Value


For Best Value, we recommend purchasing the Chicco NaturalFit bottle warmer instead.

Conclusion


With an overall score of 52 of 100, we feel that there are better bottle warmers out there. We do not recommend the Deluxe. It uses steam heat, is difficult to maintain, and makes it too easy to overheat contents in our opinion.

Video




Ruth Traxler, Ben Traxler, & Juliet Spurrier, MD