Philips AVENT Fast Review
Pros: Basic design, fits most bottles, LED indicator, easy to clean
Cons: No auto-shut off, slow heater, continues heating once off
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Philips got its start in 1891 when Gerard and Frederik Philips, a father and son team, established Philips & Co. in the Netherlands. Their original goal was to "manufacture incandescent lamps and other electrical products." In 1895, little brother Anton Philips joined the team, helping them become one of the leading producers of light bulbs. Royal Philips is now a health technology company working toward products for healthy living, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and home care.
Health and Safety
The AVENT Fast only scored an exceptionally high score among its competitors in health and safety. As a water bath, this unit is inherently safer than steam bath technology with a lower risk of potential injury related to burns. However, it doesn't automatically turn off, and a bottle left in the chamber can surely overheat. It has an LED indicator light, but no audible end of cycle beep, and it must be turned off manually no matter what setting you choose. Setting an additional timer can help you avoid distractions so you can remove the bottle at the right time.
Following the user manual instructions, this warmer indicated the end of the cycle at 3:30 minutes with a temperature of 63F. If left in the warmer after the cycle ended, it reached 94F at 12 minutes, which is closer to the ideal temperature and not a health concern. However, at maximum settings, the bottle overheated to 113F, which is over 104F when breastmilk starts to lose nutrients and could potentially hurt little mouths.
Ease of Use
This bottle warmer earned one of the lowest scores for ease of use. The user manual for this unit is in English, but we suspect a native English speaker didn't write it, which can make it difficult to follow. The instructions are convoluted for what turns out to be a simple process based on the ounces in the bottle. On the upside, you put the bottle in first and fill water up to the line of the bottle contents, so no measuring is required.
The manual doesn't include instructions for glass bottles, and there is no automatic shut-off, so bottles will continue to heat as long as they remain in the warmer. The LED indicator light will tell you when the cycle is over, but the unit only shuts-off when you manually turn the dial to the off position. Since there is no audible beep for the end of the warming cycle, but would like notification, you'll need to set a second timer, which is additional work.
The user manual includes heating times for different liquid amounts. Intuitively, it makes sense for an increase in contents to translate to an increase in time to warm. However, this manual indicates that bottles over 6 ounces will need 2 minutes less to heat than bottles between 4-6 ounces, and 2-3 ounce bottles will take a minute more to heat than 4-5 ounces. Why? We don't know, but it is something to be aware of.
The Fast isn't all that fast, and even when it is, it doesn't heat very warm, earning it a so-so score for warming efficiency. At recommended settings, it took 3:30 to achieve a temperature of 63F using a 4 ounce Lifefactory Glass Bottle with silicone sleeve. With the ideal warmed temperature being close to 98, this could be too cool for some babies, especially those who regularly breastfeed. However, if you leave the bottle in the warmer, it will continue to heat, and over time you may learn the right amount of time required to heat your bottle to a temperature close to body temperature.
You should always test the temperature of any food before giving it to your baby. Placing a few drops of liquid on the inside of your wrist is usually adequate to determine if the contents are too hot. Swirl the bottle a few times to mix the liquid and avoid hot spots before testing.
This warmer doesn't require cooling before a subsequent bottle is heated, but if you use the same water as the first bottle, it could heat the second bottle to a higher temperature, even in the same setting.
Ease of Cleaning
The AVENT earned a slightly above average ranking for ease of cleaning with few parts and descaling every four weeks. Daily cleaning includes emptying the chamber, waiting for it to cool, and wiping the unit dry. Every four weeks, it requires de-scaling with a vinegar/cold water solution inside the running device for 10 minutes. The trouble with this unit is the design prevents the user from being able to reach the warming plate making it impossible to clean it with a cloth.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz