If you’re looking for the best bottle warmer for your new baby, the Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer is the best that we tested. To find our winner, we researched nearly 30 models, consulted with experts, talked to pediatricians, and dug into medical research on the subject of properly (and safely) heating milk and formula, finally testing 10 top-selling models in our appliance lab in Cambridge, MA.
The Dr. Brown’s Deluxe is great because it can quickly and easily warm up a bottle of refrigerated milk or formula with minimal effort—crucial when you’re sleep-deprived and holding a crying baby. Trust me, I’ve been there; swishing a bottle of milk under a hot tap at 4AM is no fun.
And while none of the warmers we tested were significantly better or faster than the old fashioned method, they conveniently free you up to change your baby while the bottle warms up. If you want to dig into specifics of how we tested and why, check out our Testing Notes below, otherwise read on for our roundup of the best baby bottle warmers for you.
The best overall baby bottle warmer we tested was the Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer. In our tests it was quick, safe, and effective, requiring a 4-minute steam process and a 1-minute cooldown to heat up a 4oz bottle to right around 85°F—comfortably under the max recommended temp of 104°F, but close enough to body temp that your baby is unlikely to complain.
The Deluxe was also one of the easiest to use since it has a reservoir you can pre-fill before you go to bed and a digital display that portions out water based on how much milk you’re heating up. It makes the process much easier at 4 AM when you’re a zombie who can’t think straight, let alone measure water in a tiny cup.
The one downside? The reservoir will need to be cleaned with water and vinegar periodically to remove deposits, just like a humidifier. But users didn’t seem to mind too much since it still has a 4-star rating from over 1,700 user reviews on Amazon.
The Babies R Us store brand bottle warmer is simple, effective, affordable, and easy to use. Like many of the cheap water bath warmers that we tested, however, it is little more than a fancier version of putting a bottle in a bowl of hot water, meaning if you leave it in too long you run the risk of overheating milk.
Using it is simple enough: put in the bottle full of cold milk or formula, add water to the warmer until the water level is just below the milk level, and turn the dial. In our tests, a 4oz bottle of milk heated up to 80-86°F in 5 minutes. For a cheap warmer it works as well as you could hope for, though we wish it had some kind of timer or audible ding when it finished. Oh, and you’ll need to fill it up and empty it every time you use it.
The Philips Avent Bottle Warmer is a simple water bath warmer that’s as straightforward as it gets. Just put the bottle in, fill the chamber up to below the milk level in the bottle, and turn it on.
The “Fast” claim here seems to be based on its ability to heat up room temperature milk or formula in just three minutes, but confusingly it only calls for 3.5 minutes for much colder refrigerated liquids. Our tests with refrigerated liquid showed that the internal temperature only got up to 71-76°F after that time, which felt like slightly cold room temperature water.
You can, of course, leave the bottle in a bit longer to let it warm up more, but at that point you’re just working with trial and error. It’s a perfectly fine warmer overall, but it’ll take a few tries and some self-timing to get your bottles where you want them.
The Chicco Digital Bottle Warmer is a steam-based warmer that features a digital timer. In our tests, it was able to warm a 4oz bottle of milk with a minimal amount of water to 75-78°F in just 5 minutes. That’s only barely above room temperature, and slower relative to other steam-based heaters.
Like other steam-based warmers, it calls for a precise amount of water in the directions, meaning you need to consult a chart if you give varying amounts of milk with each feeding, but it still only gave us room temperature results. It’s a very good warmer in terms of how evenly it heats bottles, but it’ll require some trial and error to get it right, which may be a bit too much hassle for some parents.
The Munchkin High Speed Bottle Warmer lives up to its name, with a very fast warming cycle that heated a 4oz bottle of refrigerated water in just under 3 minutes. Unfortunately, in just that short period of time, the top portion of the bottle got up to about 104°F, which is when milk will start to lose some of its nutritional value.
Like other steam heaters, the Munchkin requires you to measure out a precise amount of water beforehand, with an included plastic container and a chart you need to consult. The included cup does have a cap (so you can pre-fill what you need for later) but it’s still a pain to use. The draw here is the speedy warming cycle, but if you leave the bottle in for any longer than required you will likely overheat it, which could damage milk.
That said, if you’re mixing formula with cold water (or need to use a pre-mixed, refrigerated formula blend), then this could be a good, quick, affordable option since formula is less sensitive to being heated above body temps. As always, make sure the bottle itself has cooled and check the liquid’s temp before you give it to your baby just to be sure.
Every baby is different, and many have very specific feeding needs or preferences that can be tough to predict. You should always discuss your options with your child’s pediatrician for the most up-to-date guidance about how, when, and what to feed your baby, including if a warmer is right for you.
For our purposes, we tried to design our tests to mimic what we felt was a common and difficult scenario many parents face: warming a cold bottle from the fridge (40°F) up to somewhere between room temperature (72°F) and body temperature (98.6°F). This is because some babies may not take to cold milk or formula well, and overheating milk beyond body temperature (>104°F) can destroy some of the nutritional and immunological benefits of human milk. (Formula is less sensitive, but drastically overheating—such as in a microwave or with scalding water—can potentially burn your child’s mouth)
We tested using 4 ounces of refrigerated water with a starting temperature between 38.8°F and 39.7°F, filling reservoirs with room temperature tap water and following the directions exactly. This should closely mimic both warming refrigerated human milk (which has thermal properties nearly identical to water) as well as formula that’s been pre-mixed and refrigerated or mixed with refrigerated water.
All tests were conducted with the popular Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles, with two submerged temperature probes that record the change in temps over time from both the bottom of the milk and near the surface (which can differ dramatically even within a small bottle). Temperature results above are given in a range, representing the difference between the two probes. Beyond that, we also rated the warmers based on the clarity of their directions, useful features, price point, and ease of use.