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Top 5 Best Sterilizers | 2017 Reviews

November 2, 2016
Top 5 Best Sterilizers

Top 5 Best Sterilizers | 2017 Reviews

There’s probably no chore that can take the glow out of having a new baby in the house faster than having to wash and sterilize her bottles. You can do it several times a day or you can let them pile up for days and do them all at once – but either way, it’s definitely a buzz kill every time you have to put your gorgeous newborn down and go slave over those never-ending bottles. And if you’re out of town visiting the in-laws or your parents, it’s even worse (unless they’re so excited about the baby that they volunteer to do all of the dirty work).

Cheer up and look at the bright side: sterilizing baby bottles used to be even more of a tedious job when you had to boil them (which didn’t really sterilize them anyway). Today, we have the choice of electric sterilizers, microwave sterilizers and UV (ultraviolet light) sterilizers, all of which make the chore a lot more bearable and a lot less time-consuming.

Electric and microwave units each make use of hot steam to kill all of the nasty bacteria and germs that can find their way into baby bottles; many units can handle multiple bottles at once (taking care of that depressing sight of dirty bottles lined up on the countertop), and some electric ones will even clean, dry and deodorize the bottles while they’re being sterilized. UV may be the future, but it’s expensive and most units will only sterilize the nipples.

It’s easy for first-time moms to overlook the need to completely sterilize and disinfect their baby’s bottles, since most of the dishes we use as adults come out of the dishwasher just fine. But bottle sterilizers are one of the most important purchases you can make when you have an infant to take care of, and unlike most baby accessories, even high-end sterilizers are pretty easy on the wallet.

Here’s our rundown of the top 5 best sterilizers you can buy; we’ll include choices from all three categories of sterilizer to give you a good range of choices.

You may also want to check our comprehensive Baby Bottle Sterilizer Buying Guide.

Quick Comparison Table

Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer

Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer Plus

Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer

Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer

UviCube UV Sterilizer, Sanitizer and Dryer

Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Cuff
Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer Plus
Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer
Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
There’s one thing we have to get out of the way before we go into any details on the UviCube: $300. The good news is that for that price, you can sanitize almost anything you can think of in this unit, including toothbrushes, sponges toys, smartphones, and other electronics.

$$$

$$$

$$$

$$$

$$$

Electric steam

Electric steam

Microwave

Microwave

UV

6 bottles

8 bottles

4 bottles

4 bottles

10 bottles

Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer

Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer

The most popular type of sterilizer is electric, and the best electric sterilizer is the AVENT 3-in-1. This unit is compact so it won’t take up much space in your kitchen after you plug it in (it’s the size of about two large soda bottles), but it can handle six standard bottles or fewer wide-necked ones. You should be aware, though, that it will not fit eight-ounce natural flow bottles like the ones from Dr. Brown, or stainless steel bottles. The “3-in-1” in the name refers to the fact that you can separate the modules that make up the machine. For example, in order to sterilize smaller items like nipples and pacifiers you can just use the removable compartment at the top or use the bottom compartment for breast pumps, plates and accessories.

Unfortunately, the “3-in-1” doesn’t refer to the three functions we’d hope to see in this sterilizer: sterilizing, drying and disinfecting. The AVENT doesn’t dry your bottles for you, instead requiring you to leave them in the unit for a long period of time to let them dry naturally. Of course, you can take them out and dry them by hand – but then they’re no longer sterile, are they? The compartment does shut off automatically and then keep the bottles sterile for up to 24 hours while they dry, so the news isn’t all bad, but that does take some of the glow off the fact that it only takes the AVENT six minutes to do its primary work.

And it does that work well. The high-pressure, high-temperature steam unit gets hotter than a dishwasher and kills 99.9% of germs (well, that’s what all of the manufacturers say, we didn’t actually measure it ourselves for any of these units) through the same process used by hospitals to sterilize their medical equipment. One important note: this sterilizer, like many steam models, is prone to developing a buildup of caramelized milk solids after a while. It’s necessary to soak it in a vinegar and water solution to descale it every so often to get rid of the stain, so the gunk doesn’t get into the bottles.

The AVENT 3-in-1 only weighs about a pound so it’s easy to pack and take to grandma’s house, or move around the kitchen if you need extra counter space for baby’s bath. We think it’s a valuable addition to a home that has just welcomed an even more valuable human addition, at a reasonable price of around $50.

Details of the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer

Style

Electric steam

Capacity

6 standard sized 11-ounce bottles

Other functions besides sterilization

None

Run time

6 minutes

Automatic shut-off

Yes

Weight

1 pound

Size

6 x 11 x 14 inches

Warranty

Two years

Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer Plus

Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer Plus

This is another great electric sterilizer; its big advantage is that it does some of the things the AVENT doesn’t, but its disadvantages are that it’s not quite as convenient to use and it’s double the price. We’d really rank the two products 1 and 1a if we had that option, but instead we’ll just leave you with that disclaimer and let you choose between the two.

What the Wabi Baby does that’s so attractive is dry the bottles with hot air after they’ve been sterilized with hot steam. Sterilization takes longer than in the AVENT, 15 minutes or so, but the selectable drying time of 30, 45 or 60 minutes means your bottles are completely ready for use in an hour or so. The design of this sterilizer lets you leave bottles in the unit for short-term storage as well, running a 10-minute drying function every three hours to keep them completely dry over a half-day period. We’re not quite sure how useful that is since we simply remove bottles when they’re done, but apparently many people feel that it’s a nice feature.

There are several other electronic goodies programmed into the Wabi Baby, including a memory setting which lets you push one button to repeat the last sterilization/drying program you ran, a countdown timer, and one-button descaling once you’ve put vinegar or citric acid into the machine. This sterilizer is bigger than the AVENT and will hold eight standard bottles (or six wide-necked ones), but that means it’s going to take up a larger footprint on your counter and isn’t quite as convenient to move around. There’s an included rack to let you sterilize and dry small plates, breast pumps or other items; either way, this unit is very easy to load and unload.

If you want to spend the extra $50 for the drying function (or if your preferred bottles won’t fit into the AVENT), the Wabi Baby is the electric sterilizer to buy.

Details of the Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer Plus

Style

Electric steam

Capacity

8 standard sized 11-ounce bottles

Other functions besides sterilization

Yes, Drying

Run time

15 minutes for sterilizing, 30-60 minutes for drying

Automatic shut-off

Yes

Weight

5 pounds

Size

12 x 12 x 10 inches

Warranty

One year limited

Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer

Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer

We’re a bit old-fashioned. For example, we never use the microwave for something that’s better done on the stove or in the oven. It’s not a matter of being “afraid” of microwaves, it’s just that microwaves are primarily designed to cut corners and save time, rather than to do something the proper way. For that reason, we weren’t sure about the whole idea of sterilizing bottles in a microwave – but we quickly discovered that bottle sterilization in the microwave works well, particularly when you’re not at home and don’t want to drag a large sterilizer with you.

The best microwave sterilizer we’ve found is this unit from Munchkin which weighs about a pound and can be taken anywhere. It’s also larger in size than many competitors, so it’s able to fit as many as four 9-ounce bottles plus nipples (if you arrange everything carefully). It’s even better for smaller 4-5 ounce bottles, which may be what you’d take with you the road anyway.

The Munchkin Steam Guard is easy to use. You just add water to the designated line on the unit, lock it tight, and microwave it for the length of time specified in the directions (the time varies by the power of the microwave you’re using, but it’s usually about four minutes). Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and you’ve got sterilized (but not fully-dried) bottles ready to use. The sterilizer will fit in all standard-sized microwaves and comes with tongs to help you remove the hot bottles when you’re done.

We’re not sure that we’d prefer microwave over electric sterilization as a permanent approach – but that’s just because we’re old fashioned. This is a great option for traveling, though, and for a lot of people it may be a better way to go than taking up space on their counter with yet another appliance. The $15 price certainly makes it worth checking out, whichever category you fall into.

Details of the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer

Style

Microwave

Capacity

4 standard sized 9-ounce bottles plus accessories

Other functions besides sterilization

None

Run time

Approximately 4 minutes for sterilizing plus 2 minutes standing time

Automatic shut-off

N/A

Weight

1.3 pounds

Size

12 x 11 x 6 inches

Warranty

Information not available

Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer

Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer

The AVENT microwave version of their sterilizer works in almost exactly the same way as the Munchkin. It’s a smidge larger so you might be able to fit an extra bottle into it (Philips says the capacity is four 9-ounce bottles or two 11-ounce ones, which seems about right) and costs a few bucks more. But once you’ve placed (or crammed) your bottles, nipples or breast pump into the sterilizer, you add water, microwave for the specified amount of time, and open it up a couple of minutes later. As with the Munchkin, you can also leave the container closed to keep the bottles sterile for as long as 24 hours.

All of the sterilizers we’ve looked at are BPA-free and fine for use with your baby supplies, and we really didn’t find anything to argue for choosing either the Munchkin or the AVENT. How did we decide which to list higher on our rankings of the top 5 best sterilizers? We flipped a coin, because either one will do the job nicely.

Details of the Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer

Style

Microwave

Capacity

4 standard sized 9-ounce bottles plus accessories

Other functions besides sterilization

None

Run time

Approximately 4 minutes for sterilizing plus 2 minutes standing time

Automatic shut-off

N/A

Weight

2.1 pounds

Size

12 x 11 x 7 inches

Warranty

Two years

UviCube UV Sterilizer, Sanitizer and Dryer

There’s one thing we have to get out of the way before we go into any details on the UviCube: $300. The good news is that for that price, you can sanitize almost anything you can think of in this unit, including toothbrushes, sponges toys, smartphones, and other electronics.

There’s one thing we have to get out of the way before we go into any details on the UviCube: $300. The good news is that for that price, you can sanitize almost anything you can think of in this unit, including toothbrushes, sponges toys, smartphones, and other electronics.

Why include such an expensive option on this list? Well, even though UV sanitizing may be the future of baby bottle care, the other models currently on the market are so small that all you can put into them are nipples, pacifiers and the like. The UviCube is the only one large enough to take a bottle – in fact, it can handle ten 8-ounce bottles easily.

If you’re interested enough to want to know more, there are two settings on this device. The ten-minute cycle sterilizes dry items, while the 45-minute cycle sterilizes for ten minutes and dries for 35 minutes. The UviCube uses 250 nm ultraviolet rays to effectively wipe out any germs or bacteria by destroying its DNA. The machine is UL rated, works great and dries as well as sterilizes. If you’ve got the coin to spend or you’re a germophobe who wants everything in your house sterile, it’s terrific. Otherwise, it’s probably too expensive for most parents.​

Details of the UviCube UV Sterilizer, Sanitizer and Dryer

Style

UV

Capacity

10 standard sized 8-ounce bottles plus accessories

Other functions besides sterilization

Drying

Run time

15 minutes for sterilizing, 45 for sterilizing and drying

Automatic shut-off

Yes

Weight

15 pounds

Size

14 x 12 x 15 inches

Warranty

One year


Originally posted 2016-05-27 11:15:09.


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