The best sterilisers

Steam, cold water, microwave and electric. Here's our pick of the best sterilisers for cleaning your baby’s bottles or your breast pump

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  • Sterilisers - Which one is best for you?

    Until your baby is around a year old and crawling, you'll need to sterilise all bottle and breastfeeding equipment, such as bottles, teats, discs, lids and express pumps before each use, to kill milk bacteria and prevent stomach upsets.

    We've tested out a wide range of different types of sterilisers. Broadly speaking there are two types of sterilisers - steam sterilisers (electric or microwave) and cold water sterilisers

    Steam sterilisers - use steam to clean and rid your bottles of bacteria. Some plug into the mains and use an electric plate to heat the water in the steriliser and form steam. Others can be used in the microwave by adding cold water to a sealed unit and then heating.

    Cold water sterilisation - has been used for many years and uses an anti-bacterial fluid along with cold water to clean your bottles, dummies and expressing equipment. This system is particularly handy if you're travelling or as a back-up, although some people don't like the smell of the fluid.

    Read on to see which sterilisers got the thumbs up from our MFM testers...

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  • 1. MAM Electric Steriliser & Express Warmer, £90, MadeForMums Awards Gold Winner

    There are plenty of sterilisers to choose from, but MAM's compact appliance took the gold award with its fantastic design. This two-in-one sterilising and heating genius saves on both the cost and kitchen space of two separate devices.

    Firstly, it’s a versatile steriliser which can be used for either electric or microwave sterilising, and it keeps your items sterile for up to 48 hours (that’s twice as long as most sterilisers). The kit comes with two Easy Start Anti Colic 160ml bottles, two Start Soothers and teat tongs to get you started.

    You can also use it to warm breast milk or formula in just 2 minutes, 30 seconds – there are gentle, fast and keep-warm options, depending on how urgently your little one wants their milk!

    The handy defrost function can turn milk from ice to liquid in just 10 minutes 10 seconds, which is fantastic for those moment when you realise you forgot to plan ahead. And as your baby’s appetite grows, you can use it to defrost and warm up food. There is also a safety auto turn-off feature.

    What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the MAM Electric Steriliser & Express Warmer:

    “I found this product fantastic. I have used other sterilisers before but this was a revelation. Not only can this product be used as an electric steamer but it can also be dismantled to go into the microwave and can defrost and heat bottles and food. The different warming abilities make it perfect for both formula, breast milk and food. The keep-warm facility was great when I was heating bubba’s dinner, only to find that we needed to do an emergency nappy change! Normally the food would have gone cold and I would have had to start again.Getting a couple of bottles and dummies just seems to be like receiving an extra gift from Mam.” Mum of 2, Helen

    “Fantastic product! I thought this was such a good idea and an item I would definitely purchase. The fact that you can use the steriliser in two ways is fantastic, and the bottles are ready and clean in such a fast time. The design and functionality are great – it doesn't take up much space at all and travels well. The little extras that you get (two bottles and two dummies) actually make it a great gift and a great starter set for new parents.” Mum of 1, Lauren

    You can buy the MAM Electric Steriliser & Express Warmer from Amazon, Argos or Ocado.  

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  • 2. Philips Avent 3 in 1 Electric Steam Steriliser, £70, MadeForMums Awards Silver Winner

    Philip’s electric steam steriliser has a small footprint – perfect for small kitchen worktops –and a speedy six-minute sterilising cycle. It also has a pretty sleek design (although looks may not be top of your list while preparing the night feed!).

    It’s pretty no-fuss to use, which is exactly what you need as a bleary-eyed newborn parent. The auto-shut-off feature means you can simply switch it on and leave it until you need it, and your soothers, baby bottles, breast pumps will remain sterile for up to 24 hours if the lid is unopened.

    The stylish modular design means you can use the large or small compartments on their own, or stack them together for a larger load. It can hold both standard-neck and wide-neck bottles, and takes up to six 330ml Philips Avent Classic and Natural bottles at a time.

    It also has an open design, making it super-easy to keep the heating plate clean.

    What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Philips Avent 3 in 1 Electric Steam Steriliser:

    “As we're on baby number three we've used a few different sterilisers and this one is definitely the best. Easy to use, versatile and good quality. I love that you can use just the smaller upper section if you want to clean a few small items like soothers or a bottle or two. The large base section is amazing. There are no raised areas for 'positioning' bottles which means you can use this section for larger items like breast pump parts. The fact that it's tall also means that you can use it for different brands of bottle. I would most definitely recommend this product.” Mum of 3, Emma

    “This is a very good design. I was very impressed by the way it comes apart for easy access to each section. Very easy to use.” Mum of 2, Rebecca

    You can buy the Philips Avent 3 in 1 Electric Steam Steriliser from Boots and Amazon    

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  • 3. Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser, £58.99

    Last year’s gold-award winner remains a popular choice with parents who want to keep their bottles in top condition. As you’d expect from a brand that knows its bottles, this is a well-designed device that boosts the hygiene of up to five bottles at the touch of a button.

    Tommee Tippee’s Electric Steam Steriliser has a compact design and can kill 99.9% of germs in just five minutes. Contents remain sterilised for up to 24 hours – just pop it on at bedtime and wake up to baby-ready bottles in the morning.

    The steriliser is BPA and phthalate free, and can hold five Closer To Nature or four Ultra bottles.

    You can buy the Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser from Mothercare  

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  • 4. MAM Microwave Steriliser, £29.99

    A funky looking steriliser by Austrian company MAM which scored 5/5 in our review, the MAM Microwave Steriliser is compact, spacious and simple to use, "with a brilliant lid that doubles as a drainage board".

    With space to sterilise up to six bottles in around four minutes it can also be used for cold water sterilisation - a plus point if you need to sterilise on the move, or you're going on holiday.

    A real bonus is that you're not limited to just MAM bottles because this steriliser will also take Philips AVENT and Dr Brown bottles (among others). A clip-shut lid limits the chance of accidental steam burns.

    Read the full MFM review of the MAM Microwave Steriliser

    Available from: Amazon and Superdrug

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  • 5. Nuby Natural Touch Electric Steam Steriliser, £34.99

    With a cycle time of just five minutes the Nuby Natural Touch steriliser is a quick, and convenient steamer. 

    The steriliser is also easy to load and can hold up to 5 bottles from any brand.  

    Available from: Argos

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  • 6. Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser Bags, £11

    An ideal travel companion when you're bottle feeding.  The Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser bags are portable, reusable.

    You get 5 reusable bags in a pack, which can give you up to 100 sterilising cycles.  You'll also be able to fit 3 bottles in 1 bag per cycle.  And they can also be used to sterilise breast pumps and other baby products, all in just 90 seconds.  

    Available from Mothercare  

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  • 7. Dr Brown's Natural Flow Microwave Steam Steriliser, £24.99

    Compact with a fast sterilisation cycle this is a simple-to-use steriliser that takes between five and eight minutes to complete its cycle in a microwave.

    Dr Brown is known for its anti-colic bottles and naturally this steriliser fits Dr Brown bottles best - there is space for four bottles - but it can take other short-neck bottles too.

    Tongs are supplied to keep your bottles in tip top sterile condition, along with a cleaning brush and bottle covers. Because its relatively small mums says it's a good option for travelling.

    Available from: Chemist.co.uk

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  • 8. Clevamama Soother Tree Microwave Soother Steriliser, £8.99

    For the times you only want to sterilise dummies and don't want to use the full bottle steriliser, the clever folks at Clevamama have made a mini dummy steriliser.

    It'll sterilise up to 6 soothers at once and in just 1 minute!  As it's a tiny steriliser it's small enough to bring around with you in your changing bag. 

    Available from: Boots

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  • 9. Tommee Tippee Single bottle travel steriliser, £9.99

    This is a dead simple, single bottle travel steriliser that's useful as a backup and for when you're on the move with your baby.

    A cold water and microwave steriliser, it's compact enough to throw into a change bag, or a (large) handbag and costs under £10, which makes it good value for money.

    It's also a cinch to use - load the basket and lid with a bottle and place it in the base unit with 80 ml of water, secure the lid and place in the microwave for a few minutes.

    Ready in just three minutes our reviewer loved this product for its simplicity and gave it a brilliant 4 out of 5 stars!

    Read the MFM review of the Tommee Tippee Single bottle travel steriliser

    Available from Amazon

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  • 10. Medea Quick Clean Micro-steam bags, £12.99

    You probably know Medela for its breast pumps, but the brand also makes a whole host of feeding products, not least, these Quick Clean Micro-steam bags. 

    Portable, reusable and easy to use, these bags will sterilise bottles, pumps, nipples and all other feeding utensils in 3 minutes.  You'll get 5 bags in a bag, each of which can be reused 20 times.  

    Available from: Boots

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  • Sterilisers - what you need to know

    Things to consider before buying a steriliser:

    • Where you'll use it - Will you be at home with mains electricity all the time?
    • Convenience - How quickly do you want the cycle to complete?  Are you looking for a system that can be started the night before so that you have clean bottles in the morning?
    • Size - Do you need a steriliser that can take both standard and wide-necked bottles?  Do you plan to use it past the bottle-feeding stage for feeding bowls and training cups when weaning?  Is your kitchen spacious enough for a large sterilising unit, or do you need all the work surface space that you can get?

    Just in case you forget (not likely, we know) before sterilising always:

    • Clean the feeding bottle and teat in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after a feed, using a clean bottle brush (only use this brush for cleaning bottles).
    • Rinse all your equipment in clean, cold running water before sterilising.

    We've got more steriliser info right here...

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