10 of 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 - What's the difference?

    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.

    But there are so many different types on the market that it can be difficult to know which one suits your needs best. So we've got a few articles that should tell you everything you need to know, and may even have you dreaming sterilisers! 

    Here's our pick of the best sterilisers you can buy:

    1. Mothercare Innosense cold water sterilising bags, £9.99

    An ideal travel companion when you're bottle feeding.  The Innosense cold water sterilising bags are portable, disposable and come complete with sterilising tablets, so all you need to do is add water!

    The bags sterilise bottles in 15 minutes and will keep them sterile for up to 24 hours.  The bags are big and can fit up to 4 bottles and teats, and what's even better; the bags can also be used overseas with foreign waters.

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  • 2. 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

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  • 3. Milton Maximum Protection Cold Water Steriliser, £15.80

    Simple to use and super effective, this cold water steriliser is perfect for travel abroad or situations like camping, when the mains are far from reach!

    Cold water sterilising is an age old method of cleaning bottles and teats and Milton has been protecting babies from nasties for over 65 years.

    It takes just 15 minutes to sterilise up to six bottles in the sterilising unit, which has a lid and locking handle. Our reviewer rated this product for being eco-friendly - the fluid decomposes into water without leaving any chemical nasties behind, so you can flush it down the drain.

    She also said, "this sterilising method offers outstanding value for money". You might not love the smell though...

    Read the full review of the Milton Maximum Protection Cold Water Steriliser

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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

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  • 5. Born Free Microwave Steriliser, £24.99

    Born Free was one of the first companies to make baby products without the harmful chemicals BPA and PVC. This microwave, steam steriliser is simple and straightforward to use, easy to clean and holds four, wide-neck bottles.

    With a cycle time of just five minutes our reviewer was impressed saying it is, "an unobtrusive addition to your kitchen".

    The Born Free Microwave Steriliser can be used with other brands of short-neck bottles - something that not all sterilisers do. There were some concerns about the lack of handles which made it little tricky to lift off the lid.

    Read the full MFM review here

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  • 6. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Steam Steriliser, £39.99

    Mums love Tommee Tippee products and this steam steriliser is no exception. Scoring 4.5/5 in our review our tester rated the Closer to Nature Electric Steam Steriliser for being easy to assemble.

    She also liked the sleek, oval shape and the quick, five-minute cycle (plus three minutes cooling). A really useful feature is the count down clock which lets you know how long you have before the bottles are no longer sterile - turn the the unit on in the evening and you can wake up in the morning to plenty of clean bottles.

    The steriliser fits Tommee Tippee bottles best but can also accommodate Philips AVENT bottles too.

    Read the full Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Steam Steriliser review

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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

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  • 8. Philips AVENT Express Steam Steriliser, £40

    This a tried and tested Philips AVENT model that has been around for many years. Fast and easy to use this steriliser plugs into the mains and a complete cycle takes eight minutes.

    Two baskets inside take up to six bottles with teats and lids, there's also a special tray for Philips AVENT breast pumps.

    According to our reviewer this is a "no nonsense" design which she found easy to clean. Can be used with other brands of bottle but best for AVENT bottles.

    For the full Philips AVENT Express Steam Steriliser click here

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  • 9. Mothercare LCD48 digital steam steriliser pod, £49.99

    A funky, space-age looking steriliser with a digital display that can keep bottles sterile for up to 48 hours. With an eight minute cycle this is an efficient steriliser that takes six wide-neck or standard-neck bottles.

    The digital display has a countdown feature to indicate where you are in the sterilisation process - the red cross means you’re in the process of sterilising, a green tick to show that you’re done.

    At the end of the cycle the bottles will stay sterile for 6 hours (if the lid is unopened) and there's a count down feature to keep track.

    Our reviewer said, "I like the fact that the pod is well designed, with nice clean lines...and it's not at all fiddly".

    Read the full review of the Mothercare LCD48 steriliser pod here

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  • 10. Philips Avent Electric Steam 3-in-1 Steriliser, £59.99

    A top notch, three-part steriliser that can hold a combination of small or large bottles, lids, teats and dummies in three drums of varying size. A Gold Award winner in the Prima Baby Awards 2015 this is a versatile bit of kit that can fit any type of bottle and has a fast, six-minute cycle with automatic shut-off - a great safety feature.

    BPA-free, the contents stay sterile for 24 hours as long as the lid isn't opened and mums rate this for its ease of use and its space saving design.

    Read about all the award-winning sterilisers in the Prima Baby Awards 2015

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  • Sterilisers - What's the difference?

    What types are there?

    Broadly speaking there are two types of sterilisers - cold water sterilisers and steam sterilisers.

    The cold water system 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.

    Most other 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, which takes only a matter of minutes.

    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 baby health information right here...