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10 of the best sterilisers for babies

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

Best sterilisers for babies

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.

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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 sterilisation 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 sterilisation 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 sterilisation 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, £199.99
  • Best steriliser for quick drying: Babymoov Turbo Pure 3-in-1 Steriliser & Dryer, £79.99
  • Best steriliser for quick sterilisation: Tommee Tippee Advanced Electric Steriliser & Dryer, £89.99
  • Best steriliser for small kitchens: Philips Avent 4-in-1 Electric Steam Steriliser, £79.99
  • Best steriliser for travelling: MAM Microwave Steam Steriliser, £34.99
  • Best steriliser for small items: Munchkin Portable UV Steriliser, £19.99
  • Best cold water steriliser: Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser, £14.99
  • Best back-up steriliser when travelling: Tommee Tippee Single Bottle Steriliser, £10.49
  • Best steriliser for convenience: Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags, £12.99 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.

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How did we test and choose these products?

Our 10 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 1-10, 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 2021

1. Nuby UV Steriliser, £100

Best for quick UV sterilising

Type: UV | Size: 31cm x 22cm x 25cm | Award: Gold – Steriliser, MadeForMums Awards 2021

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, Nuby’s 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.

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 travel steriliser (£120), 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

Available from: Boots, Nuby and Little Angels

2. Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV Steriliser & Dryer, £119.99

Best for sterilising and drying

Type: UV light | Size: 28cm x 28cm x 23.5cm | Award: Silver – Steriliser, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Accessories: 2 x breast like feeding bottles (150ml and 240ml), 2 x breast like feeding teats slow flow, tongs and wire rack

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 just 11 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.

This was a big hit with our testers, who praised its simplicity of use and the fact that it can be used to sterilise so many items. Some found that it was too bulky for their countertops, whilst others treated it as storage as well as steriliser and found that it fitted in well with their lives.

MFM Reviews Editor and mum of 3, Christy, commented that “The added functions, like drying mode and auto mode show real understanding of parenting”. Carla, who tested it with her 9-month-old daughter, admired the sleekness of the product and felt that bottles “seemed cleaner and fresher than they do coming out of the microwave”. No wonder it scooped up the MFM Gold Award.

Pros: Easy to use, chemical free, multi-purpose, energy efficient
Cons: Expensive, bulky

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Vital baby® NURTURE™ pro UV steriliser & dryer

Available from: Amazon and Ocado

3. Babymoov Turbo Pure 3 IN 1 Steriliser & Dryer, £79.99

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 Uber Kids).

Pros: Drying feature, limescale indicator, can also be used for storage
Cons: Additional cost of air filters

Available from: Amazon, Uber Kids and Natural Baby Shower

4. Tommee Tippee Advanced Electric Steriliser and Dryer, £89.99

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.

Like the Babymoov steriliser, 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

Available from: Mamas & Papas, Very and Amazon

5. Philips Avent 4-in-1 Electric Steam Steriliser, £79.99

Best for small kitchens

Type: Steam | Size: 15cm x 16cm x 29cm | Award: Bronze – Steriliser, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Accessories: Dishwasher basket

The main selling point of this item is its modular design which adjusts to 3 different sizes. The smallest setting can be used for sterilising little items such as soothers. The medium size suits breast pumps, toddler plates, knives and forks, whilst the largest configuration can be used to sterilise up to 6 bottles at once. Home tester Natalia, mum of a 3-month-old, said “It’s quick, efficient and has a fast cycle which is superb for when you need a clean bottle quickly.”

This electric steam steriliser has a compact footprint, making it perfect for small kitchen worktops, and a speedy 6-minute sterilising cycle. An integrated display will show how the sterilising cycle is progressing and lets you know when the bottles have cooled down and are safe to remove.

It can hold both standard-neck and wide-neck bottles and as with other brands, all the items will remain sterile inside for up to 24 hours if the lid is unopened. It also has an auto-shut-off feature which means you can switch it on and leave it closed until you need it (no longer than 24 hours after cycle is complete).

The addition of a dishwasher basket is also useful, as you can give items an initial wash then transfer them to the steriliser for that final deep clean. Very handy for keeping small items such as dummies together.

Pros: Small footprint, adjustable to different sizes, auto shut-off
Cons: No drying feature

Available from: Amazon and Argos

6. MAM Microwave Steam Steriliser, £34.99

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

Available from: Amazon, Boots and John Lewis 

7. Munchkin Portable UV Steriliser, £19.99

Best for sterilising small items

Type: UV light | Size: 7.5cm x 7.5cm x 8cm

Accessories: USB cable

This fast acting, mini device 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 USB cable, or by battery (requires 3 x AA batteries, not included). The UV light also shuts off automatically when the lid is opened – a handy plus point when you have curious little ones around.

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
Cons: Can only sterilise small items

Available from: Amazon

8. Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser, £14.99

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

Available from: Boots and Amazon

9. Tommee Tippee Single Bottle Steriliser, £10.49

Best for a back-up when travelling

Type: Microwave or cold water | MFM Review Star Rating: 3.8 stars

Accessories: Closer to Nature Easi-vent Bottle (260ml) and Newborn Teat

This simple travel steriliser is useful as a backup and for when you’re on the move with your baby. At around £10, this is one of the cheapest sterilisers on the market, though it only works with one bottle at a time as opposed to a whole day’s worth. It’s also worth keeping in mind that it only works with Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature bottles. Although it does come with one with included and accessories such as teething rings or dummies can fit in too.

As a dual cold water and microwave steriliser, MFM reviewer Sarah found it was “small enough to fit in your changing bag, helping you to make feeds up one bottle at a time.” It’s also a cinch to use – simply 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. Just make sure you use the steam valve before opening.

It’s ready in just 3 minutes – quicker than many traditional steam sterilisers and handy for middle of the night feeds. If you go for the cold water option then you’ll have to wait around 30 minutes for your bottle to be totally sterile.

Pros: Portable, simple to use, useful for smaller items
Cons: Only works with Tommee Tippee bottles

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Tommee Tippee Single Bottle Steriliser

Available from: Very

10. Medela Quick Clean Micro-steam bags, £12.99 for 5 bags

Best for convenience

Type: Microwave

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

Available from: Boots, John Lewis, Ocado and Medela

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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.

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