12 of the best sterilisers for babies, tried and tested on baby's bottles, pacifiers and teethers
Our tried and tested pick of the best steam, cold water, microwave and electric sterilisers for cleaning your baby’s bottles, your breast pump or feeding accessories
A steriliser kills bacteria found on bottles, teats, breast pumps, dummies or anything else that comes into contact with milk and your baby’s mouth. This is usually done by steam, UV light or with a chemical solution.
Why do you need a steriliser?
Warm milk can be a breeding ground for germs and harmful bacteria. Young babies still have immature immune systems and so can be susceptible to illnesses such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and vomiting.
As advised by the NHS, you need to sterilise all your baby’s milk-feeding products until they are 12 months old.
Your steriliser will be a vital, hard-working part of your baby’s kit during the first year. Sterilising feeding equipment is essential to help protect your newborn’s developing immune system from potentially harmful bugs and bacteria. You’ll still need to wash bottles before sterilising them, but the steriliser works to kill any remaining milk bacteria and prevent stomach upsets.
What are the different types of steriliser?
There are 3 types of sterilisers to choose from – steam sterilisers (electric or microwave) and cold water sterilisers are most common, whereas newer models now use UV light as well.
Steam sterilisers as the name suggests use steam to clean and rid your bottles of bacteria. Some plug into the mains and use an electric plate to heat 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 sterilisers is the traditional method that’s been around for decades. It uses an antibacterial fluid or dissolving tablet 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.
UV sterilisers is the latest method of sterilisation to hit the consumer market, and uses ultraviolet light. It's a popular method in hospitals, dental practices, and beauty salons as a way of sterilising items and is now available at home too. As it doesn't use water or steam, you can use a UV steriliser to sterilise toys, books and even your mobile phones, meaning that its use can potentially extend beyond the first year. Although they are often more expensive to buy, UV sterilisers don’t use chemicals or need descaling like steam sterilisers do, and they have lower power consumption than other electric sterilisers.
Best sterilisers at a glance
- Best steriliser for quick UV sterilising: Nuby UV Steriliser, £100
- Best steriliser for drying and sterilising: Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV Steriliser & Dryer, from £129.99
- Best steriliser for quick drying: Babymoov Turbo Pure 3-in-1 Steriliser & Dryer, £89.99
- Best bottle steriliser: Dr Brown's Bottle Steriliser and Dryer, £109.99
- Best steriliser for quick sterilisation: Tommee Tippee Advanced Electric Steriliser & Dryer, £100
- Best steriliser for small kitchens: NUK Vario Express Steam Baby Bottle Electric Steriliser, £59.99
- Best steriliser for a large capacity: Baby Brezza Steriliser Dryer Advanced, £129.99
- Best steriliser for travelling: MAM Microwave Steam Steriliser, £38
- Best steriliser for small items: Munchkin 59s Mini Portable UV Steriliser +, £31.99
- Best cold water steriliser: Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser, £22.09
- Best portable steriliser: Milton Solo Travel Steriliser, £11
- Best steriliser for convenience: Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags, £13.99 for 5 bags
How to choose the right steriliser
What to consider when looking for the steriliser that fits your needs...
Where will you use it? – Will you be at home with mains electricity all the time? Some sterilisers can also be used with a microwave – do you have one and how big is it?
Space – Is there room for a larger unit that can sterilise several bottles (standard and/or wide-necked) at once, or is a more compact device that takes up less space going to work better for you? Do you plan to use it past the bottle-feeding stage for feeding bowls and training cups when weaning?
Convenience – Do you want a cycle that completes quickly, or one that you can run overnight?
Accessories – Do you want bundle that also comes with bottles? Some sterilisers on our list with a drying function also come with a HEPA filter (air purifier filter) which will need changing – are there extra filters included in the price?
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.
For more information on sterilisation, including how to use them and safety advice, check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide.
How did we test and choose these products?
Our 12 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
For each sterliser on this list we considered functionality, ease of use, speed, size, price and extra features. Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-12, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement.
Here’s our pick of the best sterilisers for 2023
— Best for quick UV sterilising
Type: UV | Size: 31cm x 22cm x 25cm
Accessories: 1 x metal tray, 1 x Nuby bottle, 1 x Nuby Soother
While most other sterilisers are chunky and made from plastic, so they're quite bulky to move around, the Nuby UV steriliser is reminiscent of a travel bag or cosmetics case. It's hard-sided but lightweight and covered in a wipe-clean fabric, making it really light and easy to transport.
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It is quite large at over 30cm wide, but fits neatly on a countertop and looks quite stylish. Although it's big, you can only stack items in one layer, meaning it holds only 2 bottles at a time. This shouldn't be too much of an issue though, given how quickly it does its job: the really impressive thing about this steriliser is it completes its cycle in only 3 minutes.
Since it uses UV light rather than steam or water, it's also mess-free. Home tester Georgina, mum of a 6 month old, said, "The ease and speed of this machine makes it well worth the money, and there’s no need for descaling or cleaning after each cycle. It is a massive time-saver and will make your life easier."
Should you prefer a smaller option for even more portability, Nuby has also produced a portable UV steriliser (£132), which picked up a Bronze award in the 2021 MadeForMums Awards. It uses the same technology but runs on a battery cycle, promising 17 cycles per charge.
Pros: Sterilises in only 3 minutes, portable, looks great
Cons: Expensive, only holds 2 bottles
2. Vital Baby Nurture Advanced pro UV Steriliser & Dryer, from £129.99
— Best for sterilising and drying
Type: UV light | Size: 26cm x 27cm x 24.5cm | Award: Gold – Steriliser, MadeForMums Awards 2023
Accessories: 1 x teat and accessories basket
This innovative product makes sterilising ultra-simple, whilst its versatility means that you could be using it far beyond the baby stage.
UV light from LEDs bounce around the stainless-steel interior, sterilising everything inside. As well as baby feeding equipment, you can also put teething and bath toys, bowls and even your mobile phone in there. It claims to kill 99.9% of bacteria in as little as 7 minutes, using no chemicals or other added ingredients, with a lower power consumption compared to electric steam sterilisers. Simply pop your items inside and close the lid. Then "it has a handy countdown timer on the top telling you how long is left. The items also come out at their usual temperature so they can be used immediately," explained parent tester Colleen.
As well as sterilising, the latest version of this product also has a drying function, which ensures your bottles, dummies and other items will be free of drips and ready to use safely. The full drying cycle takes 29 minutes. Parent tester Chloe said, "at first I thought the 29 minutes cycle would be a pain but actually it works for me. I love that no water is used so there is no residue left in the bottles making them feel a lot cleaner."
All our parent testers felt this was an aesthetically-pleasing, high quality product that sterilises well and is super easy to use. Their only bugbear is that it can hold a limited number of items, despite being quite large overall.
Vital Baby have also launched a mini version of their UV steriliser for smaller items like soothers and teethers. It comes with a rechargeable battery, has a run time of 107 minutes and it sterilises in just 49 seconds. It also has a useful silicone strap that you can attach to pushchairs and changing bags so it's perfect if you're out and about or travelling with your baby and need to sterilise quickly.
Pros: Easy to use, chemical free, multi-purpose, energy efficient, drying cycle
Cons: Expensive, bulky
Read our full MadeForMums Vital Baby Nurture Advanced pro UV Steriliser & Dryer review
3. Babymoov Turbo Pure 3 in 1 Steriliser & Dryer, £89.99
— Best for quick drying
Type: Steam | Size: 26.3cm x 26.3cm x 40.9cm
Accessories: 2 x HEPA filters (to be changed every 6 months)
The unique steam stalks inside the Babymoov Turbo steriliser mean that every part of the bottle, inside and out, is cleaned at once during the 8 minute sterilising cycle. The stalks can also be easily removed to allow you to place teats, soothers, lids and pumps in the steamer.
What makes this steriliser stand out is its impressive drying function – there are 3 different drying cycles, starting at 30 minutes and once dry bottes will remain sterile in there for 24 hours. MFM home tester, Neve, said this was one of her favourite features: “I love the drying function! Good bye, wet bottles. Although this seems like something trivial, it is brilliant.”
All steam sterilisers will need descaling at some point, but this is the only one to tell you when. It uses an LED screen which will alert you when limescale has built up — very handy.
Just be aware — the HEPA filter (which is used in the drying cycle) needs to be replaced ever 6 months, and while you receive 2 in the pack, any more have to be purchased (they’re available for £8.99 from Babymoov).
Pros: Drying feature, limescale indicator, can also be used for storage
Cons: Additional cost of air filters
Read our full MadeForMums Babymoov Turbo Pure 3 in 1 Steriliser & Dryer review
4. Dr Brown's Bottle Steriliser and Dryer, £109.99
— Best for bottles
Type: Steam | Size: 39cm x 20cm x 27cm | Award: Silver – Steriliser, MadeForMums Awards 2023
Accessories: 2x HEPA filters, measuring cup, accessory tray
This electric steam steriliser and dryer from Dr Brown's is a great option if you find yourself needing to sterilise a lot of bottles and accessories, particularly if you're a parent of multiples. It can sterilise up to 6 bottles at once — similar to the NUK Vario Express steriliser — but unlike the Nuk you can also use the included accessory tray to sterilise bottle teats, dummies, teethers and other accessories at the same time as the bottles.
It's incredibly easy to use — just turn it on, select your preferred setting (sterilise only, dry only, combo sterilise and dry) and it will get to work. A full sterilise and dry cycle takes 45 minutes and like most sterilisers on our list, after sterilisation the items remain germ-free for 24 hours if you leave the lid on.
Despite being spacious, the steriliser isn't particularly bulky and looks sleek and modern. However, our testers did report that the power cord is on the smaller side, so you may need to take this into consideration depending on your kitchen worktop layout. The steriliser comes with 2 HEPA filters, with each one lasting up to 6 months — replacement filters are available from Baby Central for £5.59.
Parent tester Charlotte, who tested the steriliser with her 3 month old really rated the capacity of the steriliser, telling us "it's definitely made my life easier, being able to load 6 bottles plus lids, teats, dummies etc has been incredibly useful. The tray on the top is spacious. In comparison to sterilisers I've used before, loading the bottle teats and lids was a breeze. I feel that this product would especially help parents of multiples due to the quick drying and spacious room."
Pros: Spacious, easy to use, drying feature
Cons: Expensive, additional cost of air filters
5. Tommee Tippee Advanced Electric Steriliser and Dryer, £100
— Best for quick sterilisation
Type: Steam | Size: 38.5cm x 33.5cm x 23.5cm
Accessories: Replacement HEPA filter
According to popular feeding brand Tommee Tippee, this compact steriliser kills 99.9% of germs in just 5 minutes – one of the shortest electric sterilising cycles we’ve found.
Using it to also dry your equipment takes the cycle time up to around 40 minutes – similar to other dual function machines. Contents remain sterilised for up to 24 hours, as long as the lid is kept shut.
You’re also not limited to Tommee Tippee bottles, as this steriliser has been designed to fit as wide a range of branded bottles, soothers and breast pump accessories as possible. It comes complete with 2 tiers which is useful for sterilising smaller items. The top tier can also be removed to allow taller bottles to slot in.
Similar to the Babymoov and Dr Brown's sterilisers, the Tommee Tippee unit uses a HEPA air filter to block dust and dirt in the drying cycle. There’s one replacement filter included, but you will need to supply more if you use the steriliser beyond a year.
Pros: Quick sterilising cycle, drying option, fits wide range of bottles
Cons: Additional cost of air filters
6. NUK Vario Express Steam Baby Bottle Electric Steriliser, £59.99
— Best for small kitchens
Type: Steam | Size: 20cm x 12.4cm x 12.4cm
Accessories: Bottle tongs, accessories' basket
Perfect for those short on worktop space, this electric steam steriliser from Nuk has a compact footprint and is quick, effective and easy to use. Although it's small, you can sterilise up to 6 classic bottles at a time (or 4 bottles and accessories such as soothers and teethers) and it takes just 6 minutes to remove harmful germs. It's also impressively flexible, the steriliser comes with 6 movable bottle rods and a removable basket so you can adapt it depending on what you need to sterilise.
It's quiet and easy to use with a one-touch power button and also has an automatic switch-off, switching itself off once sterilising is complete. Plus, the sterilised bottles will remain germ-free for up to 24 hours if you keep the lid on, similar to other models.
For an electric steam steriliser, it's very competitively priced and has a range of impressive features. However, unlike other similar entries on our list such as the Babymoov Turbo Pure or Tommee Tippee Advanced Electric Steriliser, it doesn't have a drying function.
Pros: Small footprint, auto shut-off, chemical free
Cons: No drying feature
7. Baby Brezza Steriliser Dryer Advanced, £129.99
— Best for a large capacity
Type: Steam | Size: 28.3cm x 21cm x 41.2cm
Accessories: 1 x HEPA filter
Although it's the most expensive steam steriliser on our list, this option from Baby Brezza has a host of impressive features that really make it stand out — including modular expansion, a super quick drying cycle and ample capacity.
One of the most impressive features about this steriliser is its adaptability — it has 4 different configurations that you can adjust depending on what you need to sterilise. It has a lower bin, top bin and an accessory tray that can easily be modified if you need to try and fit in particular bottle sizes or different accessory types.
There's an easy-to-use LCD control panel and you can choose from 4 functions: sterilise only, dry only, sterilise and dry or storage. It also, similarly to the Babymoov Turbo steriliser, has an extremely impressive 30 minute drying cycle. Its capacity is also certainly generous, it can fit up to 8 bottles plus accessories and also has a universal fit — meaning it works with all bottle types and brands. It comes with 1 free HEPA filter, but do bear in mind that this will need to be replaced.
Pros: Quick, drying feature, 4 different configurations, can be used as storage, large capacity
Cons: Expensive, additional cost of air filters
8. MAM Microwave Steam Steriliser, £38
— Best for travelling
Type: Microwave or cold water | Size: 27cm x 27cm x 16cm | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.8 stars
Accessories: 2 x Easy Start Anti-Colic bottles (160ml), Start Soother and tongs
This funky-looking steriliser is an ideal option if you’re short on space and don’t want a traditional electric steamer in your kitchen. Even though it’s so compact, it can still fit up to 6 bottles inside, plus teats and lids, and items are sterilised in the microwave in as little as 5 minutes.
It also gives you the choice of also using it as a cold water steriliser if you don’t have access to a microwave. Substantially cheaper than other sterilisers on the market, it’s a great option for travelling, or if you want a second steriliser for other family members to have at their house.
With its handy latches, the lid is easy to open and close and it doubles up as a drainer for sterilised items too. Leave the lid on and as with other models, the contents remain sterilised for up to 24 hours.
Our MFM reviewer was a big fan and called it a “practical, space-saving, easy-to-use, no-leak steriliser.” She added, “It’s a big plus that it can cope with different brands of bottles, breast pumps and other baby feeding accessories.” However she did find after the stipulated cooling time, it was remained quite hot to touch when removing from the microwave.
Pros: Compact, affordable, easy to use
Cons: Remains quite hot even after cooling time
Read our full MadeForMums review of the MAM Microwave Steriliser
9. Munchkin 59s Mini Portable UV Steriliser +, £31.99
— Best for sterilising small items
Type: UV light | Size: 8.5cm x 8cm x 8cm
Accessories: USB cable
This fast acting portable steriliser uses ultraviolet light technology to kill almost all germs in just 59 seconds. If your baby drops their dummy often then you may be glad you packed this in your changing bag.
It’s powered by a USB cable, or by battery and it impressively provides over 100 uses on a full charge. The UV light shuts off automatically when the lid is opened and the transparent base allows you to see the UV light working when it's powered on.
Whilst it’s mainly aimed at sterilising smaller items such as dummies, nipple shields or bottle teats, you can also use it to sterilise anything that fits inside. Bear in mind that if you are bottle feeding then you will need another, larger machine to sterilise your daily bottles. This affordable device works well as an add-on, but it won’t replace your main steriliser.
Pros: Portable, auto shut-off, easy to use, quick
Cons: Can only sterilise small items
10. Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser, £22.09
— Best cold-water steriliser
Type: Cold water | Size: 26cm x 26cm x 16cm | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Cold water sterilisation is very much a traditional method, and Milton has been in the business of sterilising baby products for over 70 years. If you want a tried and trusted method of sterilisation then this is it.
To use, simply fill with water, add Milton fluid or Milton tablets then place all the items you want to sterilise in the unit with the weighted grid on top. It takes 15 minutes for the items to clean (which is longer than all the other sterilisers mentioned here) and utensils can be used straight away. One MFM user found it “easy to navigate” and liked how the same solution can be used for up to 24 hours, so there’s no need to throw it away after one use.
With a large 5-litre capacity you can fit up to six standard bottles as well as breast pumps, soothers, teethers, toys and more. Other useful features include a lockable lid and carry handle.
Our MFM reviewer, Sarah, did notice a chlorinated smell that “takes some getting used to” but found it to be a “fast and effective method of sterilising that won’t break the bank and is a cinch to use”.
Pros: Affordable, easy to use, trusted brand
Cons: Chlorinated smell
Read our full MadeForMums review of the Milton Cold Water Steriliser
11. Milton Solo Travel Steriliser, £11
— Best portable steriliser
Type: Microwave or cold water | Size: 14cm x 18.5cm x 14cm
Another entry from trusted brand Milton is their simple and convenient travel steriliser which proves to be a useful, reliable backup for when you're travelling or away from home with your baby and need a portable bottle steriliser. At £11, it's also one of the most affordable options on the market but can understandably only accommodate one bottle at a time.
You can either use it as a cold water steriliser (similar to the entry above), or you can put it in the microwave. If using the cold water method, you just simply need to place the bottle in the steriliser, add one quarter of a Milton tablet, fill with water, screw the lid on and press the safety vent and then shake gently. Within 15 minutes everything will be ready to use.
If opting to use the microwave method, your sterilised bottle can be ready to use in as little as 5 minutes — faster than many traditional steam sterilisers and very handy when you're on the go or using it for middle of the night feeds. Just add water, place your items in, screw on the lid and press the safety vent down and then pop it in the microwave (remember to allow it to cool for around 3 minutes once it's ready). It's also been cleverly designed to fit all microwaves due to its lay-flat flip, if it's too tall to stand up in the microwave — just lay it down.
Like many of the other sterilisers on our list, your sterilised bottle also remains germ-free for 24 hours as long as you keep the lid closed. It's 100% watertight too, so you can leave it in your changing bag until you're ready to use it without fears of water leaking.
Pros: Portable, affordable, trusted brand, simple to use
Cons: Can only sterilise small items
12. Medela Quick Clean Micro-steam bags, £13.99 for 5 bags
— Best for convenience
You probably know the Medela brand for its breast pumps, but the brand also makes a whole host of feeding products, not least, these innovative Quick Clean Micro-steam bags. This is a solution for sterilising in a small space or travelling when you don’t have access to a larger sterilizer.
Portable, reusable and easy to use, these bags will sterilise bottles, pumps, teats and all other feeding utensils in just 3 minutes in the microwave. You’ll get 5 bags in a pack, each of which can be reused 20 times. With an RRP of £12.99, they’re £2 more expensive than similar bags from Philips Avent but are still a budget-friendly option.
Pros: Useful for travel, bags have 20 uses
Cons: Doesn’t replace a traditional steriliser
About the author
Joanne Mallon is a mother of 2 from Belfast, now living in Brighton. She’s the author of the book Toddlers: An Instruction Manual and was previously editor of the Supernanny site. Joanne’s work has appeared in Mother & Baby, Gurgle, The Times and many other publications.
Emily is the Digital Content Producer at MadeForMums, working across the brand on everything from pushchairs and car seats to baby names and the latest product launches. She researches topics thoroughly to make sure our content is accurate and helpful for parents and loves bringing the details about latest parenting products and innovations to our audience.
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