Are you looking for the best bottle warmer? We put 11 of the most popular warmers to the test over several months comparing them side-by-side during regular use. We've measured warming temperatures, warming times, ease of use, and other factors like ease of cleaning to determine which products are better than the competition. Even with warmers that use similar technologies, our testing showed not all warmers are created equal. If you are looking for an efficient way to heat bottles, then you've come to the right place! Read on for all the insider details.
The Best Bottle Warmer Review
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|Pros||Versatile, consistent heat, easy to use||Water bath, user-friendly, versatile, timer in minutes||Simple, safe, keep bottle warm for up to an hour||Easy to use, quick to warm, works with various bottles||Basic design, fits most bottles, LED indicator, easy to clean|
|Cons||Larger, longer to heat, more to clean||Expensive, no end of cycle beep, multiple cleaning steps||Slower||Expensive, harder to clean||No auto-shut off, slow heater, continues heating once off|
|Bottom Line||Easy to use option with consistent temperatures that fits most containers||Consistent, simple, and works with any bottle||Excellent value with a simple design that is easy to use||Easy warmer with two modes but it is expensive and can overheat bottles||Warmer that easily overheats and lacks some necessary features|
|Ratings Categories||Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer||Kiinde Kozii||Chicco NaturalFit||Safe and Smart||Philips AVENT Fast|
|Warming Efficiency (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Health Safety (40%)|
|Ease Of Cleaning (5%)|
|Specs||Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer||Kiinde Kozii||Chicco NaturalFit||Safe and Smart||Philips AVENT Fast|
|Heat Technology||Water Bath||Water Bath||Water Bath||Water Bath and Steam||Water Bath|
|Temp or Timer Based||Timer||Timer||Temperature||Timer||Have to manually turn off|
|Auto Shut Off||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Easiest Top Bottle Warmer
Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer
The Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer is an economical warmer that holds a variety of container sizes and materials without a problem. This unit comes with a handy basket for safety, and an easy user interface with understandable icons. We like that this product has an average heat time, no waiting between bottle warming (good for twins), and a lid to keep heat contained.
The Tommee is sort of slow to heat, and the final temperature is lower than some babies will like if you follow the instructions and remove the bottle at shut off. However, it is still warm, and it is better than too hot where the content nutrition could be lost. Given that this option is easy to use, works with bottles and pouches and is relatively inexpensive, we think it is the go-to choice for most families.
Read Review: Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer
Impressive Bottle Warmer
The Kiinde Kozii is an innovative warmer with outstanding performance. It earned the second highest overall score in our tests quickly becoming a tester favorite. We tested it at home, on-the-go, and even at daycare. It has several useful qualities including a simple, user-friendly design, compatibility with all bottle shapes and materials, a handy quick start guide, small footprint, auto shut off feature, and a retractable water reservoir. However, what we like best about the Kozii is the SAFEHeat technology that uses a warm, circulating water bath to heat bottle contents and protect breastmilk nutrients.
While not as quick as steam heat technology, or as quick as much of the competition, we think that it is well worth the wait to take advantage of the other features.
Read Review: Kiinde Kozii
Best Bang for the Buck
The Chicco NaturalFit is a simple, straightforward warmer with a budget-friendly price. It is a safe, reliable way to heat your baby's bottle without the bells and whistles that make a product complicated or hard to use. This product uses water bath technology with a slow but consistent warmer. Its strengths lie in health and safety, ease of use, and cleaning. It is also versatile, compatible with a variety of bottle dimensions and materials, and has a small footprint and compact volume for easy and convenient travel.
This warmer is somewhat slow and could leave your little one crying as you wait for a warm bottle. However, the lower price and consistent content temperature make this wallet-friendly option an excellent choice for most families.
Read Review: Chicco NaturalFit
Analysis and Test Results
Do you need a bottle warmer? It's a question many new parents face. The reality is that depending on your situation and feeding choices you can easily get through the bottle years without this product. However, while it isn't a necessity, some parents may find it a welcome addition to the baby gear arsenal. If you have multiple babies or are only bottle feeding, a simple, convenient, and safe option for heating your baby's meals could be a big time saver or stress reducer. As we discuss below, a warmer is far superior to microwave heating, a method that should never be utilized, or sitting in a bowl of warm water.
Common heating methods include standing at the sink while running the bottle under warm tap water, or plunking it into a bowl or pan of previously boiled water. These mundane methods require your full attention which isn't that easy when you have a crying baby in your arms. However, there's another option the Bottle Warmer. Press a button on the machine, and voila! a hot and ready meal for your baby in minutes.
Not all warmers are equal, especially when it comes to ensuring that your precious breastmilk is not overheated. In the following, you'll see how each bottle warmer performed in our testing.We focused our testing on the following metrics to find the best warmer:
- Health and safety
- Ease of use
- Warming efficiency
- Ease of cleaning
All warmers were put through the wringer in comparative testing over several months, considering key operational features in day-to-day use. Our scores reveal both the performance of each warmer and the differences between each.
Luckily, if you find yourself in need of a warmer, most of them are fairly inexpensive compared to other baby gear items. The award winners in this group range in price from $35 for the Chicco Natural Fit to $70 for the Kiinde Kozii. The top-ranked warmer, the Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer is $60. If you aren't sure how often you will use one or even if you need one, but you want to have one on hand just in case, the Chicco is your best bet at a wallet-friendly $35. With a third-place rank and faster heat time than the other award winners, it is hard to go wrong with the Chicco.
Health and Safety
In our minds, health and safety is the most important rating consideration for choosing a bottle warmer. Warming a bottle should not overheat the contents or cause hot spots. And it should not alter the nutritional or immunologic value of breastmilk. As stated in Best Practices for Handling Breast Milk, to uphold the nutrition found in breast milk, it is best not to exceed a temperature of 104 F / 40 C and ideally, should be at or below body temperature, 98.6 F / 37 C.
In our testing of 11 warmers, we quickly came to prefer products with warm water bath technology over steam heat because they aren't as hot and there is less risk of a scalding injury to you or your baby. Bottles tend to come out of these warmers cooler and more comfortable to handle without a lower likelihood of overheating internal contents.
The Kiinde Kozii and the Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer each earned a 9 of 10 for health and safety. This score is the highest of any products we tested, and both utilize water bath warming technologies.
Overheating Breastmilk Results in Nutrient Loss
The ideal drinking temperature for baby's bottle is body temperature, 98.6 F / 37 C, or less. However, attention to temperature is also essential for breastmilk itself as it contains an extraordinary array of beneficial nutrients such as enzymes and probiotics, immune factors (such as IgG and IgM antibodies and immunoglobulin A), complex growth factors, and hormones.
An excellent study conducted at St. Mary's Hospital in the UK showed that no significant nutritional loss occurred in tests of breast milk heated to 104 F / 40 C for 20 minutes.
But, as temperatures rise over 104 F / 40 C, a degradation of nutritional and immunological benefits begins. In fact, scientific studies show that both temperature and duration at high temperature is very significant. Relatively little loss of nutritional value occurs until temperatures rise above 113 F / 45 C, but the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of degradation. For example, after 10 minutes at 113 F / 45 C, a study showed a loss of only about 10% of key nutritional activated enzymes. But, if you raise the temperate higher, to the temperature of hot tap water in many homes (too hot for breast milk), just a minute at 131 F / 55 C resulted in the loss of half the activated enzymes.
Basic Bottle Warming Test
To help differentiate warmers in health and safety, we did a comparative, controlled heating test to determine which options were more likely to heat to recommended temperatures and maintain breastmilk nutrients. We measured maximum temperatures at both manufacturer's recommended settings as well fully cranked on the maximum settings if a user doesn't follow recommendations. We also left the bottle in the warmer for up to 12 minutes to see how high temperatures will get if you forget the bottle is warming or can't get to it right away.
The graph below shows the results of that test.
We found that the Kiinde Kozii, Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer, and the Chicco NaturalFit all stayed below 104 degrees for the longest amount of time while still reaching temperatures warm enough to keep your baby happy. Out of these three options, the Kiinde was also the fastest to reach proper warming temperatures without overheating. The Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer has the lowest temperature at shut off and the Chicco Natural Fit is closest to body temperature at shut off. Alternatively, the Babebay didn't reach target temperatures until close to 47 minutes of heating and was only 80 degree at 12 minutes, more than twice the time of the average warmer.
The Munchkin Speed earned the lowest score for health and safety in our tests with a 1 of 10. This unit is a steam product which can potentially cause burns if the steam makes contact with your skin. The Speed overheated the bottle regularly if accidentally left in the warmer after shut off. So while it heats quickly in about 2 minutes, if you are changing a diaper or tending to a crying infant, the bottle can overheat to temperatures up to 147 degrees at 12 minutes or 137 degrees in only 5 minutes.
Overheating is Possible at Maximum Settings
A second test we performed was to set them to the maximum heating setting (not the manufacturer's recommended setting) to see if misuse of the warmer could result in overheating breastmilk.
Once again, we were impressed with the Best Value Award winner, the Chicco Natural Fit, which consistently heats to safe temperatures that are neither scalding nor degrade breastmilk. Its performance in our basic test, as well as the maximum settings test, shows consistency and less chance of error.
The Kiinde claims that they rely on a patent-pending SAFEHeat technology to prevent milk from overheating by using a circulating warm water bath. However, we were able to get it to overheat in our maximum heating test. When set at maximum heating, the Kiinde continued to heat, eventually reaching temperatures we consider to be overheating. After 8:30 minutes it crossed 104 F, and the milk temperature rose to 122 F after 12 minutes. We conclude that it is crucial to follow Kiinde's recommended settings for best results, and not rely on the manufacturer's claims.
The Munchkin Speed is the fastest and most likely option to overheat contents. When used at maximum heating settings (not recommended), the steam heat bottle warmer pushed temperatures up to a scalding 150 F. This is too darn hot to safely warm anything baby will drink, and this is of concern to us. Even though this test used settings outside of the manufacturer's recommendation, we suspect many parents could end up making this mistake for the sake of time or forgetting the bottle is in the warmer.
Ease of Use
If your baby is exclusively bottle feeding, you may find yourself using a warmer every 2 or 3 hours. Having a simple, easy to use warmer with clear, reproducible instructions can make it easier for you and other caregivers who may help you. We based our ease of use results on factors such as assembly out of the box, clear and specific instructions, quick set-up for each use, versatility, compatibility, portability and useful elements like a water reservoir, timer, and auto shut-off.
The top scoring warmers in ease of use with a 9 of 10 are the Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer and the Chicco NatrualFit which are both simple and straightforward for setup and use. They don't require a lot of prep or maintenance, and the user interface is intuitive and helpful for babysitters. In contrast, the Babebay is much more difficult to set up and use and comes with extra pieces and has a significant learning curve to master that will have you regularly reaching for the user manual.
Having a warmer with an integrated or attached water reservoir like with the Kiinde Kozii, Chicco NaturalFit, Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer, and the Dr. Brown's Delux makes a big difference because you don't need to add water with every use. These steam based warmers, like the Boon Orb, require you to fill a small vial with a precise amount of water for each use, and it's easy to spend almost as much time filling the vial as you do waiting for the bottle to warm which can get tedious.
Setting Timer and Warming Charts
Bottle warmers typically include charts to help you determine where to set the timer for perfect warming. These charts range from simplistic and straight-forward to eye-crossing frustrating. Many of the instructions account for different bottle sizes and materials, as well as room temperature, refrigerated, or frozen milk which can complicate matters.
We found that a bit of fiddle factor is necessary for best results. Be aware that you will inevitably go through some trial and error before you consistently reach the perfect setting for daily use. However, it shouldn't take more than a day or so of fiddling to get a working mojo going with your bottle warmer. The timer settings of the Kiinde Kozii show in minutes which is intuitive. The Chicco NaturalFit also has simple controls with one setting for baby food and one for bottles. The Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer has a few more settings but the snowflake icons make it simple to understand.
A few steam-based warmers like the Munchkin Speed and the Boon Orb include a "basket" for removing the bottle as it can become too hot to handle after a warming cycle.
Compatibility and Versatility
If your baby is attached to a particular bottle and you are shopping for a bottle warmer, you will need to be sure that it is compatible with bottle width, height, and material as warmers. Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass baby bottles are narrow and tall and fit great in a Dr. Brown's Deluxe warmer. However, don't expect it to fit a wide-mouth design bottle like the Tommee Tippee Feeding or Comotomo. Some warmers are more versatile which can be useful if you need to switch bottle types at any point or hope to warm breastmilk storage pouches.
Also, if using glass bottles, make sure the bottle warmer you choose is compatible with glass. For example, Boon Orb is a no-go as fast-rising temperatures make glass prone to breakage in this unit.
If you are unsure of what bottle your baby will prefer, go for a versatile warmer like the Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer, Kiinde Kozii, or the Chicco NaturalFit which function well with all bottle shapes and materials including breastmilk storage pouches.
Portability and Footprint
If you want to travel with a bottle warmer, have limited kitchen counter real estate, or want to fit your warmer inside a height-restricted area, a compact warmer is important. The Chicco NaturalFit has a small overall footprint and doesn't have multiple parts that could get lost, so it is a great option for travel. On the opposite extreme, the Babebay has the widest footprint as it accepts two bottles at the same time. Lastly, if height is a concern, shy away from the Baby Brezza Safe and Smart, the Beaba BabyMilk, and the Dr. Brown's Deluxe which are all taller than 10.5 inches and could struggle to fit under upper cabinets.
Warming efficiency is a warmer's ability to consistently warm a bottle's contents quickly to a similar temperature each time. No cooling period or shorter wait time between heat cycles is also beneficial especially if you have multiples or in a daycare setting.
The fastest warmers in our tests are the Dr. Brown's Deluxe and the Boon Orb. Not surprisingly, these particular warmers utilize steam heat technology which helps them warm bottles quickly.
However, as mentioned earlier, steam heat has its drawbacks. For example, the Boon Orb's energetic steam heat technology is not compatible with glass bottles due to the potential for breakage during rapid temperature changes. Similarly, the steam heat of the Dr. Brown's Deluxe can overheat bottle contents. More importantly, both of these warmers present a real risk of overheating milk if used at their maximum settings.
With the water bath warmers, the warming process takes significantly longer. The Kiinde Kozii was 80F degrees at 5:30 minutes and the Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer was almost 80F at 5:30. The Chicco NaturalFit is a little longer with 80F at around 8:30 minutes. We think these longer times are worth the wait so that the bottle contents aren't too hot and the risk of steam related injury isn't a concern.
We recommend thawing frozen breastmilk overnight in the refrigerator before use. Thawing will shorten warming time, which means you'll be able to get that hungry baby drinking faster.
Consecutive Warming Cycle Wait Time
Some warmer have recommended wait times between running consecutive warming cycles. Being able to start another warming cycle immediately is useful if two or more bottles are being heated back-to-back as with multiples or if the warmer is in use at a daycare. It's also handy if the first cycle doesn't get the milk warm enough and you need to add more time. The longest wait time for a bottle warmer in this review is around 30 minutes or when the warmer has completely cooled. The Chicco NaturalFit is one of these warmers, which could be a deal breaker for some families. The Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Bottle and Pouch Warmer has no listed wait time, while the Kiinde Kozii only has instructions to decrease the warming time of the subsequent bottle by 30 seconds if the warmer still feels warm.
Ease of Cleaning
Regular cleaning and maintenance of bottle warmers are important and the frequency (every day, every use, etc.) depends on the unit. The external cleaning process typically involves a quick wipe with a dry cloth.
However, because warmers use water, mineral deposits can build up internally. These deposits mean you need to be de-scaled every few weeks, particularly in areas with hard water (unless you have a water softener).
The de-scaling or de-mineralization process removes calcium and lime deposits that can build up on surfaces inside the warming chamber and the heating element after prolonged contact with water. These deposits can be removed by soaking the internal surfaces of the warmer in a vinegar solution according to manufacturer instructions. The Kiinde Kozii has special instructions to soak the unit with a 1:50 bleach/water solution every few weeks. Some warmers, like the Chicco NaturalFit require an overnight soaking which could be a deal breaker if you rely solely on your warmer for feeding.
In addition to these measures, we considered how difficult it is to get things really clean, that is, hard to reach nooks and crannies like the Dr. Brown's Deluxe with a narrow and deep warming chamber and a poorly designed water reservoir that makes it impossible to get inside it for cleaning.
The units that scored well in this metric were those that had fewer parts and accessories and easy-to-access water reservoirs. The easiest to clean is the Boon Orb with a 7. Most of the units earned a 6 with very similar instructions and effort levels required for sufficient descaling. Our least favorite to clean, and those most likely accumulate residue or mildew build-up even with regular cleaning, are the Dr. Brown's Deluxe and the Babebay.
While a bottle warmer may not be vital for everyday life, it can provide an element of simplicity and efficiency, which may be worth it for many busy parents. In order to help you with your decision, we tested these warmers until we could confidently declare the winners. If you're still unsure, head over to our Baby Bottle Warmer Buying Guide for more information.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz