Types of Bottle Warmers
There are two main types of bottle warmers, and both use water to heat bottles:
- Water bath bottle warmers
- Steam heat bottle warmers
Water Bath Bottle Warmers
As the name suggests, these bottle warmers use a water bath of warm water to warm bottles. Water is placed inside a basin, and the bottle is placed into the basin. A heating element then warms up the temperature, and the warmed water heats the formula or breast milk in the bottle. Water bath bottle warmers gently warm the contents of the bottle, which allows either the breast milk or formula to retain its maximum nutritional benefits. The downside of a water bath bottle warmer is that it can take a while to work; however, if you are willing to wait, you will receive the perfectly warmed bottle.
Steam Heat Bottle Warmers
With a steam heat bottle warmer, water is placed inside a reservoir, which then comes into contact with an internal heating element, such as a hot plate. As the heating element heats the water, it creates steam. These bottle warmers heat faster than water bath bottle warmers; however, the downside is that the water and the steam reach very high temperatures, which can be potentially dangerous. Additionally, the exterior of the bottle tends to be very hot to the touch after the heating cycle is completed. Lastly, steam heat may not heat the formula or breast milk in the bottle evenly, which means that there is the potential for significant variations in temperature.
Bottle Warmer Considerations
It goes without saying that you want to make sure that any product you purchase for your child is the best. In order to find the best bottle warmer, there are definite factors that you are going to want to take into consideration. Here’s a look at some of the factors that we think should be taken into consideration when purchasing a bottle warmer.
Healthy and Safety
The most important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing a bottle warmer is the health and safety of the product. Since bottle warmers contain heating elements, there is a risk that they could cause burns. Additionally, there is the risk that they could heat the contents of the bottle unevenly, or heat up the exterior of the bottle to high temperatures. You also want to make sure that the contents of the bottle will retain as many nutrients as possible. Heating the bottle too much not only poses a potential danger, but it also burns off some of the nutrients of the formula or breast milk inside the bottle.
How efficient is the bottle warmer? You want the bottle warmer to heat the breast milk or the formula in the bottle. Of course, you want to heat the bottle as quickly as possible, especially when the baby is crying because she is hungry; however, when choosing a bottle warmer, don’t let the speed it heats up the bottle be the only consideration. As mentioned above, you also want to make sure that the bottle warmer is safe and that it heats up the contents of the bottle consistently (no hot spots.)
Ease of Use
Bottle warmers that are easy to operate and maintain are ideal. Parents have enough to worry about, particularly when their child is hungry and wants to be fed. The more complicated the bottle warmer is to use and the more difficult it is to use, the more frustration it will cause for parents – or anyone else who may be using it. Look for a bottle warmer that is easy to fill with water, that has few parts, and that is easy to drain and disassemble for cleaning.
Look for a bottle warmer that can accept various types and shapes of bottles, and different bottle materials. Just because a baby is happy with one type of bottle now, that doesn’t mean that he won’t change his mind and prefer a different bottle down the line. The versatility of the bottle warmer is also important if you plan on using it with more than one child. Bottle warmers that are able to accept both narrow and wide bottles, and bottles made of different materials are ideal.
How much space the bottle warmer takes up is also another important factor to take into consideration. Consider where you will be using it the most (a kitchen countertop or on a table in the nursery, for example) and make sure that there is enough room to accommodate it.
If you plan on using the bottle warmer in different locations, you want to make sure that it is portable. Bottle warmers that pack up easily and that feature carrying handles are the most portable.
As always, price is an important consideration when purchasing any product, including a bottle warmer. These tools can range in price from around $50 to $100 or more. Generally, the more features that a bottle warmer offers, the more expensive it will be. Determine how much you want to spend on this device before you start shopping so that you don’t overextend your budget.
Bottle Warmer Features
The most important features of a bottle warmer are how well and how safely it heats up the contents of a bottle; however, there are several features that can make these handy appliances even easier to use and improve your experience.
Auto Shut Off Feature
An auto shut off feature allows the bottle warmer to turn itself off automatically. This feature allows the bottle warmer to shut off after a certain amount of time, or when it has reached a certain temperature. An automatic shut off will allows you to avoid overheating the bottle, which is important for safety reasons.
An Audible Alarm
With this feature, an audible alarm will be sounded when the bottle has completed the warming cycle and the bottle warmer shuts off. Because it is easy for parents or caregivers to get sidetracked when they are tending to the baby while the bottle is warming, an audible alarm is a helpful feature because it will notify you when the bottle is ready.
A Water Reservoir
Some warmers need to have water added to them every time they are used, which adds an extra step in the bottle warming process. If you want to bypass this step every time you warm up a bottle, you may want to consider a bottle warmer that features a water reservoir. Basically, you fill the reservoir up with water, which attaches to the bottle warmer. The reservoir has a built-in feature that monitors the amount of water in the basin this is used to heat the water. When the monitor detects that more water is needed, it will automatically be added to the heating basin. In other words, with a built-in reservoir, you don’t have to refill the bottle warmer with water every time you use it.
If you are going to be using the bottle warmer several times throughout the day, you may want to consider purchasing one that offers storage for extra bottles. Many bottle warmers offer dedicated spaces to neatly and securely store extra bottles right on the device, which means that you will always have a bottle on hand when you need it.
If you plan on using your bottle warmer in different locations, a carrying handle will make it much more convenient to tote around.
This feature will allow you to adjust the temperature of the bottle warmer with ease. For real ease, look for a digital temperature control.
A sterilizing basket will allow you to sterilize bottle nipples and pacifiers, maximizing the use of the product. Simply insert the nipples and pacifiers into the basket, place on the lid and let the heat the bottle warmer creates sterilize.
Best Bottle Warmer Brands
There are so many bottle warmers on the market, so how do you know who makes the best? We did extensive research, read several reviews and tested out the products ourselves. After completing a thorough assessment, we determined that the following brands are the best of the best.
The First Years
This manufacturer makes all types of products for babies, including bottle warmers. We found that their bottle warmers received excellent reviews. We also found that they make various types of bottle warmers that boast a variety of features. We were very pleased with several of their models, and highly recommend them.
Dr Browns specializes in baby feeding products. Perhaps their most famous product is their ant-colic bottles. To make feeding time easier, Dr Browns also produces several bottle warmers. We really liked the memory function on one of their particular bottle warmers, which saves the time it takes for the bottle to reach a baby’s preferred temperature.
Another company that makes a wide range of baby products, Philips makes some of the highest quality bottle warmers on the market. We found that their bottle warmers were some of the most efficient, as they heated the bottles much quicker than other brands we tested.
We particularly like Kiinde bottle warmers because they are so simple, straightforward and easy to use. Their bottle warmers consistently received great reviews, and we can attest that they efficiently heat up bottles to an ideal temperature.