Update — August 2018
The award-winning options were researched to ensure the accuracy of information and to capture any changes to design or features. Updates ensure that our readers receive up to date information. This update also includes the addition of a Value section to help readers consider the price value of the bottles and which options will work best on a budget and why.
Best Overall Baby Bottle
Lifefactory Glass Bottle
Easy to latch
Harder to clean
Potential to break
The Lifefactory Glass Bottle is a cool glass bottle with an easy latch nipple for the baby that parents love. The body of the container is an eco-healthy borosilicate glass that is thermal and shock resistant with a silicone sleeve that offers some protection from drops and throwing and makes the bottle more comfortable to hold. This bottle is easy to clean and assemble, made with only a few manageable parts. The Lifefactory features a nipple that doesn't collapse and didn't appear to contribute to the additional ingestion of air. Babies can hold this option without any trouble despite its heft, thanks to the grippy silicone sleeve. In our tests, little ones had no difficulty latching onto the nipple even though it is on the narrow side and one of the least breast-like we tested. If all that isn't enough, this bottle can be converted to a water bottle for older babies with a sippy cup lid (sold separately), which increases its longevity and value.
This bottle can be more challenging to clean with the silicone sleeve that is hard to remove and replace. Also, this bottle can break and if you aren't gentle or your little one throws it and it breaks you'll have to throw it away. However, in general, there is much to like and not much to dislike about this useful and straightforward bottle.
Read review: Lifefactory Glass Bottle
Best Value in Baby Bottles
Tommee Tippee Feeding
$4.50 each (in 4-pack)
Easy to latch
Easy to use and clean
Leaks a little while feeding
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle is a plastic bottle that has a squat contoured shape that is easy for small hands to hold and for parents to fill. Not counting the dust cover, this wide mouth bottle consists of only three pieces, which simplifies both assembly and cleaning. A few of our favorite features were the easy to see volume markings, the dual vent system in the nipple, and the mound-shaped nipple that is so similar to mom that it encourages a good latch. In our tests, this bottle didn't leak although some leaking is to be expected from the anti-colic valve while feeding, and the large size of the opening makes liquid transfers a cinch with less chance of loss from spillage.
While we are not huge fans of plastic, we will admit that with its thoughtful design and simple features, this budget-friendly bottle satisfies both babies and parents alike. If the eco-health of plastics concern you enough to keep this from being a full-time option, this bottle will make an excellent on-the-go or daycare backup if you worry about your main bottle being used or broken. If you simply don't want to use plastic, even part-time, you can find the bottle body made of glass with some additional effort and online searching.
Read review: Tommee Tippee Bottle
Top Pick for Innovation
$11.52 each (in 3-pack)
"Let down" functionality
Easy to latch
Wobbly when standing
Takes longer to heat liquid
The Comotomo silicone bottle is unlike anything else we tested, and frankly anything else we've seen on the market. Using neither glass nor plastic (the industry standards), this product has a silicone body and nipple, which are the only components that come in contact with baby's food. We like the breast-like nipple for easier transfers from breast to bottle and back again, and we like that the squeezable body is massage-able for a real "milk let-down" that mimics breastfeeding and mom in a way no other bottle achieves. This bottle has a super-sized mouth that makes transferring liquids a snap (with less loss potential) and allows for quick cleaning without special tools. This bottle is easy to assemble, and both parents and babies like the unique design and innovative features.
The Comotomo materials created a lag in heat up time when used with a bottle warmer so it isn't the best choice for parents in a hurry or little ones who feed frequently at night and could get crabby waiting for warm milk. However, with some planning ahead and possibly an alternative night option, this bottle can be a winner for families looking for something other than plastic or glass.
Read review: Comotomo
Compare Top Products
Displaying 9 Products
Analysis and Test Results
Some babies accept just about any bottle whether they've experienced the breast or not, but some babies have trouble with new bottles and nipples creating frustration for parents and baby. With so many available bottle options, it isn't as simple as picking a random one and tossing it in your cart. What if your baby likes a wider style nipple? What if you want to limit your little one's use of plastic? What if your baby is prone to gas and colic? Knowing which bottle might be your best bet given all the different shapes, sizes, materials, vents, valves, and nipples can help you find the best option for your situation. We considered over 30 top bottles before choosing 9 products to test side-by-side.
The table above is a comparison of the overall scores for each bottle in this review. The scores are a weighted combination of the individual metric scores. Metric results come from in-house tests and user experience "in the field." Overall scores were computed with an emphasis on leakage and nipple design.
While any single baby bottle may not be priced to break the bank, buying multiple bottles for convenience could start to get spendy depending on the price of each individual bottle. Most families will want at least 6 bottles, so there can be a few in play while a few are being cleaned. In our lineup, there are multiple options with budget-friendly prices. The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle is a nice basic bottle that testers love; plus, it has a reasonable price tag that won't break the bank. This option also comes in multi-packs to save you even more money. If plastic isn't your thing, you'll likely be spending more per bottle, but the longevity and years of use you can get with each bottle add value to the product. Many options allow for a spout change to make them appropriate for toddlerhood and beyond. The Lifefactory Glass Bottle is one of these options where the years of use can make the price feel lower spread over time. Also, the value of using inert materials provides peace of mind that it is hard to put a price on.
When using each bottle, we consider several different performance metrics to determine scores and overall ranks. The information below includes in-depth testing details.
Leak test in progress. After 20 minutes, some caps were filled with milk!
The one thing a bottle shouldn't do leak. While some products leak a little around the nipple when a baby is drinking, a phenomenon not unlike what happens during breastfeeding, they shouldn't leak during transport or in a diaper bag. Leaking inside a diaper bag can lead to a stinky wet mess and lack of food for baby at your destination. Excessive leaking while feeding can result in a mess and a frustrated child who has difficulty drinking or at the very least a loss of potential nutrition that leaves baby feeling hungry. This metric is one of the most important in transition and sippy cups, and while it may not be as important for bottles, it is still a priority to avoid mess and loss of food.
Given this, we test each bottle for leakage and how likely it is to leak while feeding, in a diaper bag, or just sitting on the counter or in the fridge. Our tests are conducted side-by-side and help us determine which can hold their liquid and which have trouble. The high score for leakage is 9 shared by three different bottles including the Editors' Choice option, the Lifefactory glass bottle, which didn't leak when baby fed or in the diaper bag. The low score is a 4 for the Medela Breastmilk bottle that leaks from the nipple and around the collar.
Most babies have an easy time latching in a natural fashion to the wide-mouthed nipple of the Comotomo.
Every bottle features a nipple design and shape the manufacturer is proud of, and it is one of the features that most brag about in their advertising. All of the nipples in our tests were silicone, but some are shaped more like a natural breast, like the Comotomo, and others offer internal features that help prevent nipple collapse or limit the amount of air intake to help prevent colic, gas, and spit-up.
The high score for nipple design and performance in this group is 9 for the Playtex Nurser and the Comotomo, our Top Pick award winner that looks almost like a real breast. The low score for nipple performance is the Medela with a 4 and a narrower nipple that frequently inverted in our tests.
Washing the Tommee Tippee bottles is super easy thanks to wide mouth bottles and only three parts that need regular cleaning.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning is the part of bottle-dom that many parents dread. With some bottles having very narrow necks that are difficult to clean with a standard bottle brush and others requiring specialized tiny brushes for cleaning venting systems, this metric can be significant if you want to spend more time with your baby and less time cleaning up.
We gave preference to bottles with few parts to clean, wide necks for easier cleaning with a brush or an ordinary sponge, and no small pieces to clean with tiny bottle brushes.
Cleaning Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass requires special brushes, time, and patience.
Some of the most straightforward bottles to clean had disposable liners to hold the liquid and only had one or two parts that require cleaning. The Kiinde Squeeze and the Playtex Nurser both have liners and a score of 10 for cleaning because you only need to clean the nipple on a regular basis. Of these we preferred the Kiinde for several reasons, but primarily because the liner is recyclable and it can go from pump to storage to bottle with no transfer needed. The highest scoring bottle without a liner is the Philips AVENT Natural Glass with a 9 and only three parts to clean that don't need any special brushes to clean thoroughly. The low score for the group is a 4 for the Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass which has a venting system inside the bottle that requires small narrow bottle brushes to clean.
A seven-month-old boy loves his Lifefactory bottle that includes a grippy silicone sleeve for easy handling and few parts for easy assembly.
Ease of Use
A bottle needs to be easy to use for baby and parents, or it isn't likely to be used very often and will end up as parts floating around in a cupboard somewhere. The ease of use metric included things like how easy it is to assemble and disassemble, how heavy it is, how difficult it is for baby to hold or parents to manage, and how well it traveled.
We also considered whether or not it needed to transfer liquid (the Kiinde does not), if the neck opening was wide enough for easy transfer, and if the venting or valve system was easy to assemble and seemed to work as advertised. We liked bottles that were easy to put together, easy for baby to hold, and didn't require complicated venting systems to reduce the intake of air so parents could assemble it even when sleep deprived.
The Tommee Tippee bottle has 3 parts not counting the dust cap used for travel and keeping the nipple clean.
The high score for ease of use is 9 shared by Tommee Tippee Feeding (our Best Value Winner) and Lifefactory bottles. Both bottles offer features that make them easier for baby to hold, they have limited parts for quick and easy assembly, and they make liquid transfer simple with wider necks. The low score in the group is a 3 for the Kiinde Squeeze. This bottle seems like it should be easy to use, but is difficult thanks to a longer liner that is hard to pump with and a smaller capacity that requires changing the bags mid-feeding up to 3 times if your baby is older or very hungry.
Eco-health is kind of a big deal around here at BabyGearLab. So much so that we have written an entire article on whether or not Plastics are Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups.
In general, we prefer glass and stainless steel over plastic materials for baby products, but stainless doesn't allow you to see through the bottle and see how much an infant has taken, and thus aren't our favorites for infant bottles. While stainless steel remains one of our favorite materials for sippy cups, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine noted in their Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants (pdf) article that "steel containers were associated with a marked decline in cell count and cell viability when compared to polyethylene and glass." Also, glass is recyclable, can be used for an extended period, is hard to scratch, and is easier to clean than plastic. Plastics are our least favorite because even though they are BPA free, they could still potentially be leaching chemicals into their contents that have similar side effects. We think it is best to limit baby's exposure to plastics whenever possible. The industry standard for nipples is silicone, which is generally considered safe.
The liners for the Playtex Nurser are not recyclable and do not attach to any breast pump, unlike the Kiinde Squeeze that goes direct from pump to storage to bottle in the same liner.
We dislike the bottles with plastic liners and feel they have the lowest eco-heath performance both because they contain plastic and because they are most likely going to end up in the landfill (even though Kiinde options are recyclable). We gave higher scores to bottles that have the least amount of impact on the environment and baby's health. The best for eco-health is the Lifefactory glass bottle. Lifefactory is primarily glass with a silicone sleeve and nipple. This bottle is environmentally friendly and can act as a sippy cup with a sippy top in the place of the nipple when baby gets older. We wish we had included the Joovy Boob Glass glass version in this review because we are very curious about this newer glass addition to the bottle market; it has gotten good reviews from users on Amazon, and we will likely include it in our next update. It is similar to the Lifefactory in that it is glass, and some even come with silicone sleeves for easier gripping and protection from drops. The lowest score is a 2 for the Playtex Nurser that is almost entirely plastic, save for the nipple and has disposable pouches that are not recyclable.
The top 9 baby bottle contenders used by tiny tested for our Best Baby Bottle showdown.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to bottles, and we hope that our review and analysis has helped you narrow down to top contenders that will work for you and your little one. Keep in mind that some experimentation is often required to find the bottle that meets your needs and your baby's. Until you've found the perfect option, we'd recommend buying one at a time, so you don't overinvest in a particular type of bottle before you've confirmed it is going to work for you.