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Searching for the best baby pacifier? Our review ranks this year's top 9 pacifiers. We scoured the market for promising contenders and purchased a selection to send through hands-on testing to determine the best. Our testing metrics focused on pacifier ease of cleaning, qualities of usability, durability, and more. With so many options available on the market, knowing our testing details can help you make an informed buying decision. Let our recommendations help guide you to the best pacifier to help calm your little one.
Soothing little ones can take on many forms. For success, you may need other items like a great baby bouncer, swing, or rocker. A baby carrier can also work wonders by keeping your baby close and giving body-to-body comfort as you do other tasks or just walk around. A good swaddle can also comfort younger babies.
Editor's Note: We updated this pacifier review on April 28, 2022, with a review of the product selection and award winners, as well as more information on related items.
The Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier surpasses the competition due to a blending of desirable features. It is made of 100% silicone (free of BPA and latex) and features an orthodontic nipple that flexes upward. The manufacturer claims the exclusive nipple design holds various benefits, like supporting babies' breathing by keeping a forward tongue position, evenly distributing tongue pressure across the palate to support oral development, and its narrow base allows optimal lip closure. The shield has four heart-shaped ventilation holes for air circulation, two on the top and two on the bottom. It also offers a loop that is one of the largest, right behind the HappyPaci Pacifier, which our tester (6 months old) could easily hold. In addition, this pacifier is super easy to clean, thanks to its one-piece design, and it comes with a sterilizing carry case that helps keep a pacifier protected and away from lint and germs or vanishing in a diaper bag.
The carry case allows you to sterilize pacifiers; however, we prefer not to use it in this manner, given the potential of plastic leaching chemicals. We believe boiling water to sanitize is an easy task and favor this method. The Chicco's clear color can be easy to overlook, but other colors may be available. We think this is a potential contender for parents concerned with oral development based on the manufacturer's claims.
The Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier tends to be well-loved and might be an affordable option for soothing your sweet baby. This medical-grade silicone pacifier (BPA-free) features a cylindrical nipple that is soft and collapsible to respond to a baby's sucking pattern. And thanks to its one-piece construction with no nooks or crannies for bacteria or water to hide, it is super easy to clean and sanitize. If you like this option, consider moving onto the Philips Avent Super Soothie once your little one hits the 3-month mark. It is similar in design but suitable for older babies.
The silicone guard is flat and offers a minimally-sized tab for parents to hold, which isn't as convenient as larger loops or buttons. We noticed ourselves holding the pacifier's edge rather than the tab. Also, younger users might have trouble keeping this option in their mouths due to the pacifier's weight. However, this situation is not necessarily unique to this product as it can happen with other pacifiers, and if it does occur, don't force your baby to take it. Despite this, we recommend this wallet-friendly pacifier for families with newborns.
The RaZbaby JollyPop Pacifier is 100% medical-grade silicone (free of BPA, latex, phthalate, and DEHP) and one-piece construction. It has a low profile and curved shape, and RaZbaby's website mentions it is likely compatible with CPAP, nasal cannulas, and a side-lying position. It also features two ventilation holes on the upper lip, and the loop handle has small nubs.
The JollyPop is for babies without teeth, and the manufacturer suggests discontinuing use if your baby can fit it in their mouth or teeth have emerged. Interestingly, the JollyPop is available in an unscented and lightly scented (vanilla) version. The scent is FDA-approved vanilla essence added to the silicone during the manufacturing process, and it is considered food and safe for babies. We prefer the unscented version, which we used during our hands-on testing, as we strongly believe babies' do not need scented pacifiers. But, we recognize it is a personal choice. Despite the JollyPop's shorter age range, we recommend this pacifier to families with a newborn.
The WubbaNub Pacifier quickly became one of our favorites! Isn't it adorable? Plus, most babies love it. Since younger babies can have difficulty keeping pacifiers in their mouths, the attached "lovey" helps stabilize the pacifier. The plush animal also makes it easier for older babies to locate, grab, and bring to their mouths, and it's easier to spot in a diaper bag. Children also find comfort in holding and stroking the soft plush. WubbaNubs are handmade, and the manufacturer suggests handwashing or surface cleaning with cold water and air drying. However, it is acceptable to machine wash this product on a gentle cycle before air drying.
The WubbaNub is for babies ages 0-6 months, and, unfortunately, there is no next-stage pacifier available. It is also costly and perhaps a poor economic option if you frequently replace pacifiers due to your baby's chomping. Indeed, emerging teeth can be pretty sharp and destroy the pacifier. Of course, not all babies will be chewers, but we suggest frequently checking a "Wubbie" before use and immediately stopping use if cracks or damage appears. However, there is no doubt that the WubbaNub brings fun and comfort to the world of pacifiers, and we highly recommend it to families with babies between 0-6 months of age.
Does your bottle-fed baby use Dr. Brown's bottles? If so, the Dr. Brown's HappyPaci may meet your needs. With a similar nipple shape to Dr. Brown's bottles, your little one may be more likely to accept this option. The HappyPaci is silicone (BPA-free), one-piece construction, butterfly-shaped, and curves away from your baby's face, providing room for the nose and cheeks. The pacifier's loop is one of the largest among the competition, and we believe this makes it easier for older babies to grab.
The HappyPaci's nipple is longer than other contenders in our review, which could cause some younger babies to gag. We noticed that our six-month-old tester's top lip occasionally came over the pacifier's top, which implies the sizing may not be compatible with this child. This observation is specific to our tester, and it does not mean the HappyPaci will not fit your child of the same age as every child is different. We recommend this pacifier to families using Dr. Brown's bottles and would like a pacifier with a similar shape to make the transition easier.
The MAM Air Night Pacifier stands out among the competition with its glow-in-the-dark button, making it easier to locate in the middle of the night. Another noteworthy feature is its minimal shield, allowing generous airflow, which is excellent for babies with sensitive skin. The orthodontic nipple is silicone, and the guard is plastic; both are BPA-free. It is available in various colors and patterns, and each set comes with a plastic sanitizer case. Our little tester could grab and hold this pacifier with ease during testing. We also like that the carry case helps keep the pacifier together in the diaper bag and protected from germs.
With concerns regarding plastic and the potential of leaching chemicals, we feel that sanitizing the pacifier in its plastic sanitizer case is not the best method. Instead, we think the old-fashioned boiling water on the stove works fine. Also, the pacifier is not of one-piece construction, and there is potential for water to enter the nipple, leaving moisture for germs to grow. Nonetheless, we recommend this product to families who will appreciate the glow-in-the-dark feature and minimal shield with extra airflow, reducing the chance of skin irritation for their little one.
The MAM Clear Pacifier is a stylish option with fun button designs. This multi-part option has a thin plastic shield (BPA and BPS) with a silicone nipple. The symmetrical orthodontic nipple has a narrow base, which increases to a bulb shape. The manufacturer claims dentists created the paci's design, and the nipple shape is ideal for oral development. The shield is unique as it sports a subtle textured surface and ventilation openings, allowing the babies' skin to breathe while sucking. Since the shield slightly curves, we noticed that this pacifier has a close fit on our tester's mouth.
Since this pacifier is not one-piece construction, there is potential for water to enter the nipple, which is not ideal for hygiene reasons as it can promote germ growth. The manufacturer suggests squeezing and shaking the nipple to expel the water if this occurs. However, if you don't mind a multi-piece paci, we recommend this contender for those seeking a stylish option.
Developed with Pediatric Feeding Specialists, the Evenflo Balance + Cylindrical Pacifier is a stage 1 pacifier that encourages healthy sucking skills. It features a cylindrical nipple shape that promotes tongue cupping, a position that resembles babies' latch while breastfeeding. It is 100% silicone (free of BPA, polycarbonates, PVC, and phthalates), lightweight, soft, and flexible. The ventilation holes on the upper portion of the shield increase airflow, and the easy-grip handle angles downward. Once your little one ages out of this option, consider the stage 2 version, Evenflo Balance + Orthodontic Pacifier, designed for babies six months and on, offering a different nipple shape that the manufacturer claims supports oral development and emerging teeth.
The Evenflo's frosted color can be overlooked or misplaced as it does not stand out. Besides this factor, if you seek a soft silicone pacifier, look no further. This option may be a match for you and your baby.
The Tommee Tippee Closure to Nature Pacifier claims to be breast-like, allowing the nipple to feel, flex, and stretch like mom's breast to ease the transition between breast, bottle, and pacifier. This multiple-piece contender is polypropylene plastic and silicone (free of BPA), and the nipple is hollow, which is excellent for preventing moisture from entering. There is no right way to place the pacifier with a circular shield, and it has multiple holes around the guard to increase airflow, which can lessen the chance of skin irritations.
The outer shield is plastic, and it does not have a loop. Our little tester (6 months old) couldn't hold onto this pacifier and accidentally put it in their mouth like a wafer, prompting the parent to remove the pacifier and help with proper positioning. Once in place, our little tester enjoyed it. We recommend this pacifier to families looking for breast-like similarities or use Tommee Tippee bottles as the latch is similar.
Tip: If a pacifier falls out of your baby's mouth and lands on the floor, do not clean it by sticking it in your mouth before inserting it back into the baby's mouth. This cleaning method is not "clean," harmful bacteria from your mouth can transfer to your baby. Instead, wash it with soap and water, or sanitize it.
Why You Should Trust Us
BabyGearLab has been testing a wide range of baby-related products over the past decade, accumulating extensive experience and knowledge with every review. Leading our review is Senior Review Editor, Molly Bradac, who holds over 15 years of experience as a professional nanny and Newborn Care Specialist. While testing, we were able to enlist the help of some awesome little testers, ranging in age from newborn to 6 months. We purchased each product in our review and completed hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to assess performance.
Analysis and Test Results
We tested our lineup with various little testers and evaluated each product for ease of clean, qualities of usability, and durability. Scores in each metric influences contenders' ranking.
Ease of Cleaning
There's no doubt that pacifiers will get dirty, and they can be a lint trap, especially if they fall on the floor. Therefore, an easy-to-clean product is a pacifier must-have, and we prefer a silicone pacifier of single-construction with a hollow nipple (providing no chance for saliva or water to enter), especially one that includes a carry case.
Among the competition, the Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier scores high. It comes with a carry case, has a one-piece construction design, and silicone, a material that can withstand high temperatures when sterilizing for hygienic reasons. The combination of these qualities helped this product surpass others and rank high.
On the flip side, the WubbaNub Pacifier scores low as the plush animal will collect grime and hair, even spit up or drool (a likely event), so you'll have to wash and dry it. The manufacturer recommends handwashing the product but mentions it is also machine washable before air drying. Nonetheless, the overall cleaning process is more involved than non-fabric contenders ready to jump back into action after a quick wash.
Some contenders that couldn't rise in ranking due to their multi-part construction, even if they included a carry case, are the MAM Air Night Pacifier and MAM Clear Pacifier. These products have silicone nipple that attaches to a plastic guard. This multi-part design can result in trapped moisture or condensation inside the bulb. Since moisture increases bacterial growth potential, this design isn't ideal, especially for a product your baby sucks on. The manufacturer suggests squeezing and shaking the nipple to expel any moisture if you notice this issue.
Regardless of which option you select, it's essential to wash and sanitize a pacifier before first use. If you're using a machine sterilizer, please read the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly before use, or take the old-fashioned approach and boil water on the stove. For products that include a sanitizing carry case, we believe that sanitizing a pacifier in its plastic sanitizer case is not the best method, given concerns regarding plastic and the potential of chemicals leaching. Instead, we think the old-fashioned boiling water method works fine. On a daily basis, wash a pacifier with warm, soapy water before allowing them to air dry.
Ease of Use
A top-notch pacifier should combine functional features, such as a design that's easy to grab and hold for parents and babies and a guard with ample airflow. We also gave extra points to products that include a carry case, any unique features, or if the manufacturer offers additional sizes to fit your growing baby.
Although the WubbaNub Pacifier is only available in a 0-6 month size, it has valuable qualities that outshine most of the competition, scoring high in this metric. The plush animal often stabilizes the pacifier, and with a larger product, it's easier to hold for both parents and babies. Plus, it's easier to spot around the home or diaper bag. On the contrary, the Phillips Avent Soothie Pacifier is simple, standard, and offers no exciting perks, like a carry case or unique features.
While testing, we did notice the Dr. Brown's HappyPaci caused some younger babies to gag due to a more extended nipple than other contenders. So, if you think your baby might struggle with a more extended nipple, we suggest skipping this product. Also, the MAM Air Night offers a couple of unique perks, like a carry case, a glow-in-the-dark button to make it easier to locate, and a minimal shield for generous airflow, which is excellent for babies with sensitive skin.
For any pacifier you purchase, make sure you select the appropriate size for your baby's age and stage. As babies develop and teeth emerge, pacifier needs can change, so keep an eye on the suggested age, typically found on a product's package. We encourage you to discuss the use and transition of pacifiers with your child's pediatrician to ensure proper oral development.
Pacifiers can crack and tear over time. To avoid potential choking or ingestions hazards, it is essential to regularly inspect them by pulling on the nipple and all parts to look for damage. Also, replace a pacifier following the manufacturer's recommendations.
Although we don't consider it fair to link construction with performance, we recognize that design can affect quality and durability. We believe those of one-piece construction is less likely to break than those with multiple parts, as long as furry friends don't get a hold of it as they'll easily bite through the silicone.
We consider the Phillips Avent Soothie Pacifier to rank high, thanks to its one-piece construction and a handling tab, which feel sturdy and secure. However, the MAM Air Night Pacifier and MAM Clear Pacifier rank low due to their multi-part design. Although we did not experience any durability issues while testing these products, it's a logical assumption that multiple parts increase the potential of breakage or damage.
A Note on Nipple Shape
The two most common nipple shapes include cylindrical or orthodontic, and although every baby is different, your child's preference will ultimately decide. We suggest discussing this topic with your pediatrician and lactation consultant, but we can start the discussion and provide information. A cylindrical nipple is bell-shaped, whereas an orthodontic nipple has an irregular shape with an indent in the center. For instance, the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier has a soft, cylindrical nipple. In contrast, the Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier has an orthodontic nipple with an upward flex, unlike any other option in our lineup. Finding the right pacifier for your baby may take some trial and error. Also, since there is some discrepancy in what style is best for breastfeeding babies or when to introduce a pacifier to breast-fed babies, your pediatrician and lactation consultant can help you navigate these waters.
Tip: More is Better
As these little buggers can easily get lost, dirty, or accidentally misplaced, we recommend purchasing several pacifiers for your home, car, and diaper bag. Keep a couple in the diaper bag for times when one hits the floor, so you'll have a backup.
A pacifier can offer comfort for your baby and fill non-eating sucking / soothing needs. Some studies also show that it might help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If you feel a pacifier is right for your baby, ensure the pacifier's size is appropriate for your baby's age and consider discussing your choice with your child's pediatrician. We encourage purchasing various baby pacifier brands and styles to try, as you never know what your little one may prefer. We are confident that the information and recommendations in this review will help your decision-making.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.