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 - 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. Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser, £58.99, MadeForMums Gold Award Winner

    It’s compact, easy to use and sterilises 5 bottles in just 5 minutes with no chemicals needed – all great reasons why the Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser scooped the gold MFM award.

    It won’t take up lots of space in the kitchen, with its space-saving design measuring 23cm x 29cm at the base and 30cm in height. 

    Plus it keeps bottles sterile for 24 hours, so you can pop it on at bedtime ready for fully sterile bottles the next day.

    What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser:

    “Easy to use, quick 5 minute sterilisation, nice sized capacity.” MadeForMums Reviews Editor Hazelann

    “Cute, durable design with easy on-off button and quick 5 minute cycle.” Mum of 2, Magda

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  • 2. Milton Combi Microwave and Cold Water Steriliser, £24.99, MadeForMums Silver Award Winner

    Our judges loved the fact this silver-award winning steriliser could be used in the microwave or as a cold water steriliser, making it ideal for travel.

    It holds 5 bottles of any brand, sterilises from 2 minutes in the microwave and in 15 minutes with cold water and tablets.

    It also has a strong carry handle and will fit in most microwaves.

    What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Milton Combi Microwave and Cold Water Steriliser:

    “Very easy to use and super handy as you can take it away with you (it doesn't need to be plugged in - it can either be used in the microwave or with tablets). It can fit my breastpump attachments and bottles in no problem. I'm very impressed!” Mum of 2, Sonali

    “Very simple, two minutes in microwave, good value for money and easy.” Mum of 1, Kat

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  • 3. Philips Avent 3-in-1 Steam Steriliser, £60, MadeForMums Bronze Award Winner

    With its 3-in-1 design, this bronze award-winning Philips Avent steriliser aims to take up less space in the kitchen.

    It can be transformed from a full size steriliser, with capacity for 6 large bottles, or used in its medium mode, for cleaning breast pumps, toddler plates and cutlery, while the smallest size is perfect for pacifiers.

    Sterilisation takes 6 minutes, and the contents stay sterile for 24 hours.

    What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Philips Avent 3-in-1 Steam Steriliser:

    “This steriliser looks fantastic with its modern rounded edged design and flash of blue at the bottom. I'm happy to have this out on the kitchen work surface rather than always putting it back in the cupboard. It is nice that there are two sections of the steriliser to separate the bottle parts. I like being able to keep the sterilised items in the steriliser for 24 hours without having to re-sterilise.” Mum of 1, Claire 

    “Good capacity, slimline design and a quite quick sterilising time.” MadeForMums Reviews Editor 

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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. 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.  

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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.    

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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. 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. 

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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

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  • 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.  

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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...