We’ve tried and tested a range of the best bottle sterilizers – including electric, steam, UV, and cold-water sterilizers – to help you find the perfect choice for you and your baby.
A bottle sterilizer will help to keep bottles and dummies sterile and hygienic and prevent your baby from picking up germs from milk bacteria and alike. It will also help to keep baby paraphernalia such as breast-pump attachments, teething rings, and bottle brushes in tip-top condition to help protect your little one’s vulnerable immune system.
With so many types to choose from it can be difficult to know which model of bottle sterilizer is best. To find out which bottle sterilizer designs are worth considering, our team of parents embraced the early hours of the night feed to clean and sterilize baby bottles and dummies – testing for ease of use, clever features, effectiveness, and ergonomic design.
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ | Sterilizing time: 8 minutes | Drying feature: Yes
With its glossy black base and BPA-free lid, the Babymoov Turbo Pure Sterilizer and Baby Bottle Dryer is a modern design that looks attractive on the worktop and it comes packed with lots of handy features. You can sterilize bottles in just eight minutes, eliminating up to 99 per cent of bacteria and tackling unpleasant odour and milk calcium build-ups. Its Pure Drying function will get bottles and dummies bone dry in under 60 minutes to further eliminate airborne pollutants such as dust mites and mould. It is worth noting that it includes a HEPA filter that needs replacing every six months.
We asked Katherine Robinson, mum to five-month-old Freya, to test run the Babymoov Turbo Pure Sterilizer and Baby Bottle Dryer and tell us what she thought. ‘It’s really simple to use, which is a good thing when I’m feeling tired and have an early wake-up call,’ says Katherine. ‘The timer countdown is helpful and if I need something quickly, I can run the sterilizing function separately from the drying function. In fact, now I’ve tried the drying function I can’t live without it.’
The sterilizer has an insert designed to hold six bottles, and Katherine found a steady hand was needed to make sure they all fit without falling out. ‘I’m currently using Tommee Tippee bottles, and I think this sterilizer is best suited to tall slim designs,’ she says. ‘I like the fact that you can remove the internal bottle fixture to make space for larger items such as storage jars and breast pump attachments.’
Read our full review of the Babymoov Turbo Pure Sterilizer and Baby Bottle Dryer
Mam Electric Steriliser and Express Bottle Warmer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 5 minutes | Drying feature: Yes
The Mam Electric Sterilizer and Express Bottle Warmer does so much more than sterilize and warm bottles. The kit can be used to defrost baby food and heat it up too. There’s also a useful ‘keep warm’ feature on board. It comes comprised of five parts – the electric sterilizer, the bottle warmer, a 0-2 months soother, an easy start 160ml baby bottle, and a pair of Mam tongs.
We asked Kate Willoughby, mum to five-month-old Tilda, to give it a go and see what she thought. ‘This electric bottle sterilizer is easy to operate compared to some of the designs I’ve tried,’ she says. ‘It’s easy to assemble as you simply place the main sterilizing compartment on the base for it to start. What’s clever is that the main sterilizing section can also be used in the microwave, which works in just five minutes. This feature as well as the fact that the bottle warmer is separate to the main sterilizing unit means it is a very versatile piece of kit that’s easy to travel with. To clean and remove water you have to unstack the unit and unscrew the bottom.’
Kate found the range of features on offer in this kit and its effectiveness at cleaning bottles, dummies, and additional baby bits very handy. The multi-functional sterilizer also works in the microwave. ‘The electric base has LED lights and sound alerts that come in useful, but I also found the top part of the sterilizer easy to use in the microwave,’ says Kate. ‘The keep warm and baby food warming features will be ideal when I start to wean too,’ she says.
Read our full review of the Mam Electric Sterilizer and Express Bottle Warmer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 6 minutes | Drying feature: No
A superb option if your budget is stretched, the Boots Baby Electric Sterilizer can sterilize in six minutes. It is designed to fit up to six bottles. However, this will depend on what type of bottles you are using – be it standard or wide-neck bottles. We could fit in either three Mam bottles and accessories, or six Philips Avent designs, for example. A tray built into the design lets you sterilize teats and other accessories at the same time.
Daniel Macdonald, dad to two-year-old Arlo, gave it a test run. ‘This kit comes complete with tongs, which I found quite useful as it let me remove the bottles without touching inside the bottles and helped when they felt a little hot after a cycle,’ says Daniel ‘What’s handy is that if you keep the lid of the sterilizer securely on after a cycle, the contents will remain sterile for up to three hours.’
While it isn’t the smallest design he’s tried, Daniel found the design discreet and compact. ‘It has all the basics you need to keep baby bottles, lids, and teats clean and sterile,’ he says. ‘I found the digital display easy to navigate too and at six minutes, it’s also very quick. Set up was simple as you just add 75ml of water and then add the bottles and tray. It comes with a built-in timer that has a voice reminder to let you know when the sterilizing cycle is complete, and I found this useful when I was in a hurry to get a bottle ready for the next feed.’
Philips Avent 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 6 minutes | Drying feature: No
Easy to use and set up, the Philips Avent 3-in-1 Electric Steam sterilizer is flexible and modern in style. The body of the sterilizer, which is 29cm high, can be assembled in three different ways to suit small and large bottles and baby items. If you live in a hard water area the gadget needs descaling, as often as every two weeks.
We asked Alex Sexton, mum to five-month-old Oli, to give it a try. ‘I enjoyed using this sterilizer as it has a good amount of space for sterilizing things other than bottles, so you can include toys and jars too if you want,’ says Alex. ‘There are three sections to it – the top part, the dishwasher basket and the bottom base. It is quite tall, but luckily not too deep and wide, so it can sit nicely on the worktop. It can sterilize in as little as six minutes and it has an indicator that tells me when its safe to open the gadget, which I found helpful.’
Alex did find the electrical cord on the device a little short, but she found the dishwasher basket that can be simply lifted out conveniently when she wanted to get more equipment packed in. ‘This sterilizer has some clever design features and it is much easier to access the steam heating plate than some designs I’ve tried, which makes it easier to clean,’ she says. ‘Another thing worth noting is that steam only escapes from one hole at one side of the lid, so you could position it under kitchen cupboards and not worry about steam damaging the units above.’
Nuby Electric Sterilizer & Dryer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 5 minutes | Drying feature: Yes
A modern monochrome body graces the Nuby Electric Sterilizer and Dryer. It comes with three settings – to sterilize, quick-dry and super dry, and, should the lid remain unopened, it will keep bottles and other feeding accessories sterile for up to 24 hours. It has ample room to hold up to five bottles and is compatible with all bottle shapes and sizes.
We asked Alex Sexton, mum to five-month-old Oli, to give it a try and tell us what she thought. ‘This design does what it says on the tin – sterilizes and dries bottles,’ she says. ‘I found the drying function very useful. Also, the option to do a ‘quick dry’ to get rid of some of the condensation is a nice extra. The large size means you can sterilize quite a bit of stuff, although the way the bottom tray is set up means it can only take around five bottles at a time. I like the fact that the lid has protection so that you can lift it up without burning yourself – particularly good if you’re in a hurry.’
‘Although it is a little noisy in use, the dryer mode is useful and will take you around 30 minutes to get stuff dry,’ continues Alex. ‘It works best on bottles, rather than breastfeeding apparatus and teats. It also comes with some nice extras including a combat colic 180ml bottle and an orthodontic dummy, which has been a real hit.’
Tommee Tippee Advanced Steam Electric Sterilizer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 5 minutes | Drying feature: No
One of the most compact designs in our test, the Tommee Tippee Advanced Steam Electric Sterilizer can fit up to six bottles, from a range of popular brands. Provided the lid is kept closed, the contents will remain sterilized for up to 24 hours once the cycle has completed.
We asked Alex Sexton, who is mum to five-month-old Oli, to give the Tommee Tippee Advanced Steam Electric Steriliser a try and report back. ‘It’s one of the most attractive designs I’ve tried and I like that it comes in a black or white finish that is easy to match kitchen decor,’ she says. ‘It’s relatively small and doesn’t take up too much room on my worktop. It lets you fit six bottles neatly inside and it’s easy to stack them. As it’s a little on the small side, I think you’d struggle to sterilize larger items than a 250ml bottle. It does feature clever little clips to hang the lids above the bottles on top.’
Set up was simple for Alex, with a simple plug-in and go with the one-button start. ‘The design of the hotplate means it isn’t the easiest I’ve tried cleaning, and if you live in a hard water area you may get quite a bit of limescale build-up, quite quickly,’ she says. ‘But if you clean it regularly, I think it’s easy to maintain. When you remove the lid a lot of steam comes out of the top, so it’s not one you’d want to place underneath overhanging cupboards. That said it does have two easy-lift handles that are designed to keep hands away from the steam as you remove the lid. And the two-tier stackable tray inside can also be used as a drying rack.’
Dr Brown Clean Steam Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 9 minutes | Drying feature: Yes
The Dr Brown Clean Steam Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer will steam clean, dry and store. While it’s above average in price, it comes with a luxurious finish and the promise to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and keep everything sterilized for up to 24 hours after the cycle is complete. It’s also got ample storage inside to hold up to six baby bottles in the main section, and lids, soothers and breast pump parts in the tray. To ensure everything feels bone dry, it comes with a HEPA filter that will purify the air capturing up to 95 percent of airborne particles. This needs to be changed every six months, but there is a spare in the box.
We asked Daniel Macdonald, dad to two-year-old Arlo, to give the Dr Brown Clean Steam Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer a test run. ‘While this is specifically designed for Dr Brown bottles, you can fit other designs in the main body of the device,’ says Daniel. ‘It also has a good-sized accessory tray that makes it easy to add other baby bits such as bottle lids, spoons, and dummies, which I found easy to insert and take out. It includes a measuring cup so you can get just the right amount of water inside too.
‘My one criticism, however, is that the booklet advises you to only use distilled water in the element for the steam, but I can’t imagine I would remember to make this or buy it in the long term. You’ll need to clean and descale the device regularly and it requires a new HEPA filter every six months, but that’s easy enough as two come included in the box.’
Daniel tried it on the 9 minutes sterilize setting and thought the 10-minute cool-down timer was a nice touch. ‘It means I know when items are ready to come out and they aren’t piping hot,’ he says. ‘It also has a dry only feature, which takes 45 minutes, and a sterilize and dry setting that is also 45 minutes. Although I can see the benefits of drying and I was impressed with how dry the bottles came out on a normal sterilize setting so I’m not sure I’d always need to do use that extra dry feature, but it is useful to have the option.’
Tommee Tippee Baby Bottles Microwave Sterilizer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 4 minutes | Drying feature: No
If you have limited space on the worktop for an electric sterilizer, the Tommee Tippee Baby Bottles Microwave Sterilizer is a good choice. At just 24cm wide, it’s designed to fit into a standard microwave. Also, its lightweight design means it’s handy for travelling. It comes with a newborn soother and a pair of tongs and can sterilize up to four baby bottles in four minutes.
We asked Kate Willoughby, mum to five-month-old Tilda, to give it a whirl and tell us what she thinks. ‘Unlike an electric sterilizer that takes up quite a bit of room on the worktop, I like how few parts this design has and that I can store it in the microwave and out of sight when it’s not in use,’ says Kate.
‘It only took me a few seconds to work out how to use it. You have to carefully stack bottles and accessories, but that’s pretty easy to be honest. While it says you can get four bottles on the tray, I could only really fit two with a few soothers added in. Then I simply poured 200ml onto the base – with no need to add any sterilizing tablets or anything. I then put the lid on – that has a couple of secure buttons on the sides – and put it on full power in the microwave for four minutes.’
Kate used oven gloves to get the sterilizer out of the microwave as it got quite hot but was impressed at how easy the whole process was. ‘If the lid isn’t removed after sterilizing, the bottles will remain sterile for 24 hours, which is good if you want to prepare bottles ahead.’
Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV Sterilizer and Dryer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 11 minutes | Drying feature: Yes
While it’s the most expensive sterilizer in our test, the Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV both sterilizes and dries using unique UV technology, which has eco-friendly qualities as it doesn’t use water. The UV device is unique in that it uses UV light from special LEDS to eliminate bacteria, without the need for chemicals or water, breaking down the molecular structure of germs to eradicate them.
We asked Katherine Robinson, mum to five-month-old Freya, to give it a spin to find out how effective the design. ‘At first, I was a bit suspicious of this design as it’s so different to anything I’ve used before to sterilize baby equipment, but I found that it does have its benefits,’ she says.
‘I was interested to read that as well as sterilizing baby equipment you can also use it for toys, cosmetic products, and mobile phones! It has four simple buttons to operate the sterilizer. This includes a drying function. While the sterilizer was silent and let me fit three bottles inside, the drying feature is a little noisier. Also, items have to be roughly dried before you put them in on the dry setting, which takes a minimum of 41 minutes.’
Also, items need to be completely dry before you use the sterilizing feature, which adds a little work. The device only uses 74 watts of power, however, and there’s no need to add water or to regularly descale, so it’s an energy-efficient and low maintenance option.
Milton Microwave and Cold Water Sterilizing travel unit
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: From 2 minutes | Drying feature No
Designed for on-the-go, the Milton Microwave and Cold Water Sterilising travel unit can be used with cold water and a sterilizing tablet/solution or in the microwave. It is designed for use with Milton sterilizing solution or tablets that you have to buy separately and claims to sterilize 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. It’s a quick and easy option that takes just two minutes in the microwave or up to 15 if you’re using a sterilizing tablet or solution with water. It comes with a secure, watertight lid, so you can pop it in your bag without worrying about it leaking.
Jenny, mum to two-year-old Logan, gave it a spin for Good to Know’s round-up of best bottle sterilizers. ‘This is a good one for overnight stays and great if you use soothers that are constantly getting dropped on the floor,’ she says. ‘It fits one Philips Avent bottle, but can take all size bottles. I like the fact that it is just the right size for my baby changing bag and doesn’t feel heavy, which means I can pop it inside and forget about it.’
This works well in the microwave using just water and has a lay-flat lip so it fits inside. ‘When I’ve used it in smaller microwaves on the go, I needed to place it on its side to make it fit,’ adds Jenny. ‘The microwave option is handy. However, I like the fact I can also use it with cold water and a Milton sterilizing tablet. Also, I can keep it to hand for up to 24 hours – with a bottle or dummy inside – to access as and when I need.’
Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam bags
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | Sterilizing time: 3 minutes | Drying feature No
A slightly different sterilizing option designed for use with Medela breastfeeding equipment, the Medela Quick Clean Micro-steam Bags are quick and convenient to use. You get five bags in the packet that can be used 20 times each, which gives you 100 uses.
We asked Elizabeth Vince, mum to five-month-old Grayson, to give it a try and tell us what she thinks. ‘The directions are pretty foolproof,’ she says. ‘You simply add 60ml of water to the bag plus your apparatus – be it a milk collection bottle, teat or soother – and seal the top. Then you place it in the microwave for up to three minutes. The bags can get hot so you need to use a mit to remove them from the microwave. And before opening the bag you can remove the water through the steam vent in the side. I can’t see this replacing a proper sterilizer altogether. Overall, the main benefit is convenience as they are very quick and easy to use – especially when you are away from home without your usual sterilizer.’
‘While they don’t appear to be made from recycled plastic, you will get 100 uses from one packet. I like the handy check box on the bag to keep track of how many times you’ve used the bag. These wouldn’t last long if you were using them as your main sterilizer. However, 100 uses seems quite a lot if you are using them for on-the-go only. So I think it would last you quite a long time. These bags are obviously for use with Medela products and while it doesn’t specifically say you can use them with other brand’s equipment I assume you can, which opens them up to a wider audience.’
For many parents, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. “The general advice is to sterilize your baby’s bottles and teats up until they are 12 months old to protect them from germs and infections such as diarrhoea and vomiting,” says Heidi Skudder, founder of The Parent & Baby Coach. “I find that up to six months is sufficient, although some people like to sterilize for longer – especially when using dummies. While it is possible to sterilize baby equipment in a simple pan of boiling water, using a dedicated sterilizer will give you extra peace of mind knowing you’ve covered all bases.”
Think about how many bottles you need to sterilize in a day – the average design will sterilize up to six at a time. Also, consider the shape of the sterilizer and how many different items it can store. Some models are more flexible and roomier inside than others. So if you plan to use the device to sterilize other baby equipment as well as bottles, you may want to look for deep and roomy designs.
Consider how much space you have on the worktop. Electric steamers can be bulky and take up room. So if space is tight you may want to opt for a microwave sterilizer that can be stored out of sight when not in use.
Which sterilizer you choose may depend on bottle size – be it anti-colic, short wide-neck, or standard tall and thin ones. Some brands sell sterilizers to specifically suit their bottle size. Others are more generic and have inserts that can be taken out so you can place your kit – such as teats, storage jars, bottles, and breast pump parts – easily inside.
Consider how your bottle sterilizer will need to be cleaned? Coldwater and microwave steam sterilizers will need to be washed regularly with warm soapy water. Additionally, the element on an electric steamer will need descaling. This can be done by running it on the steam cycle with a little white vinegar inside. Also think about whether you want added extras such as a drying mode to get your kit bone-dry. That’s essential to prevent bacteria growth. You can also find devices with features to keep baby milk warm, or even those that can warm up baby food.
Steam sterilizers come in either electric plug-in or microwave versions. These work by adding a little cold water that once heated forms steam to kill germs. You can expect to pay from around £8.99 for a cold-water sterilizer, to up to £110 for a higher-spec electric version with a bottle dryer or bottle warmer included.
Cold-water sterilizers work simply with anti-bacterial fluid or tablets dissolved into water. The cold water and sterilizing tablet method is often the go-to choice for keeping bottles and dummies hygienic in hospital maternity units. . The smell of the chemical tablet puts some people off, but it’s a safe and effective method and works in under 15 minutes.
UV sterilizers use ultra-violet light from special LEDs to rid of germs and bacteria. Although these sterilizers tend to be more expensive, they can be an eco-friendly option as they do away with the need for water and claim to use less energy when switched on.
The Parent & Baby Coach Heidi Skudder recommends you wash bottles thoroughly between feeds as the buildup of milk in the teat can cause a bacterial build-up and possibly give your baby an upset tummy. Once you have washed them in warm soapy water, make sure they are dry. Then either put them in the dishwasher on hot water and heated drying cycle or special bottle sanitizing setting.
Heidi’s top tip is to be prepared with extra bottles during the day. “I find it helps to have enough bottles and dummies to collect across the day and then wash them all at once and do one big batch sterilize, rather than having to do this for every feed and only have a couple of bottles to hand,” she says.
The Babymoov Turbo Pure Sterilizer and Baby Bottle Dryer is our pick of the best baby sterilizer overall. We rate it for its ergonomic design and ease of use.
Best bottle sterilizer overall: Babymoov Turbo Pure Sterilizer and Dryer – £76.50 | Amazon Best premium bottle sterilizer: Mam Electric Sterilizer and Warmer – £90 | Argos Best budget bottle sterilizer: Boots Baby Electric Sterilizer – £36.99 | Boots (Save 15% when you spend £30 across selected baby and child products for Black Friday) Philips Avent 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer – £78.49 | Amazon Nuby Electric Sterilizer and Dryer – £75 | Nuby Tommee Tippee Super Steam Advanced Electric Sterilizer – £69.99 £40 / Amazon Dr Brown Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer John Lewis | £99.99 (OUT OF STOCK) Tommee Tippee Baby Bottles Microwave Sterilizer – Argos | £20 Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV Sterilizer and Dryer – Amazon | £69.99 £83.99 Milton Microwave and Cold Water Sterilizing travel unit – Boots | £10.99 (Save 15% when you spend £30 across selected baby and child products for Black Friday) Medela Quick Clean Micro-steam Bags – Amazon | £9.74