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…
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.
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
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
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