Perfect for busy mums and demanding family life, a baby bottle warmer is a compact and convenient device to ensure your baby's milk is warmed to perfection.
Whether you're using breast milk stored in the fridge, defrosting frozen supplies of milk or even heating baby food, a hassle-free bottle warmer will quickly and safely bring your baby's feed to the best temperature. We love that this mimics the comforting warmth of breastfeeding and saves your little one from getting more hungry and tearful in the wait.
But how does it work? And do you really need one? We've shared a handy guide to baby bottle warmers and included the best you can buy, whether you're looking for one to put in your kitchen or carry one in your baby's changing bag.
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How does a baby bottle warmer work?
Traditional baby bottle warmers have a central vessel where you put your baby's bottle in. You then fill around the bottle with water and switch on the power, which enables the heating element in the bottle warmer to heat the water and bottled milk in turn.
With a baby bottle warmer, you can take the guesswork out of warming your baby's bottle to the ideal temperature with a thermostat and clear indicator light that goes off when it's just right.
Suitable for breast milk, formula, and even baby food in some cases, make sure the bottle warmer you're looking to buy can accommodate the bottles you have at home. Many come with adapters for holding different shapes and sizes of bottles and jars.
What is the ideal temperature for baby milk?
The ideal temperature for breast milk is 37°C. Not only is it easier to digest for tiny tummies, saving discomfort at bedtime. But babies prefer their milk at natural body temperature. If you've stored your expressed breast milk in the fridge or freezer, using a bottle warmer will bring it back to this temperature for your little one.
The same temperature applies to formula milk too. You can use a bottle warmer with ready-to-use formulas that can be stored in the fridge. However, if you're using powder formula, it's recommended to make up each formula fresh for your baby. In comparison to breast milk, the formula isn't sterile. You should make it up using hot water to kill the bacteria and use it within two hours once cooled to room temperature.
Do you really need a bottle warmer?
While it's not completely necessary, using a bottle warmer is one of the best and safest ways to warm your baby's bottle. Not only that, but a bottle warmer is:
Quick: Baby bottle warmers are designed to be quick and efficient, so you're baby isn't left crying or hungry for too long - something mum and baby can both appreciate! Some bottle warmers can reach the perfect temperature in as little as 90 seconds.
Easy to use: There's very little hassle involved; you just need to put in the bottle, fill it with water if the reservoir is low, switch it on, and go. Some baby bottle warmers have pre-programmed settings to suit different bottles and starting temperatures, whilst others just have a one-touch operation to save the faff if you're consistently heating the same type of bottles.
Reliable: Baby bottle warmers are designed to evenly heat up your baby's milk every time without the risk of overheating. Some will even keep your baby's bottle warm for a long period of time with auto-shutoff and overheat protection to prevent anything from getting too warm.
Transportable: As well as being generally more convenient, some bottle warmers are designed to easily fit in your baby's changing bag and carry on the go. These can be USB charged, require no power at all, or be mains-powered but light enough to carry with you when visiting family and friends.
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Is a bottle warmer better than using the microwave?
It is definitely better. Warming your milk in the microwave is not recommended. Warming in the microwave can result in uneven heating as the milk is directly heated - bottle warmers heat the water surrounding the bottle instead. This transfer of heat is a much safer process – bottles heated in the microwave may continue to ‘boil’ after being removed and could end up being too hot for your baby’s sensitive mouth. Not only that, but overheating the milk can damage baby bottles and destroy the natural nutrients contained in breast milk.
If you’re not using a bottle warmer, it’s recommended to replicate the process by filling a jug or bowl with warm water and placing your baby’s bottle inside for no more than 15 minutes.
Best baby bottle warmers
1. Tommee Tippee 3-in-1 Advanced Electric Bottle and Food Pouch Warmer
Suitable for breast milk, formula and baby good, the Tommee Tippee bottle food warmer can quickly heat feed in as little as four minutes. Designed to fit most bottle sizes, this intelligent warmer gently heats breastmilk or formula to body temperature and can even be used from frozen.
Simple and easy to use, just place your bottle or food pouch into the easy-lift cradle, place into the warmer, and add water. Select the bottle type, starting temperature and volume of feed as the warmer will automatically work out the optimum heating time.
It also comes with an Ease-Warm Bottle and a setting to keep your bottle warm after heating for up to 30 minutes.
One reviewer said: "Game changer for night feeds. Our baby is fully bottle fed and now all we do is turn the machine on, nip downstairs to grab a milk, put it in while doing q change, and then it's usually ready. Little loud like a kettle when heating up, but not in an off-putting way."
2. NUPEAA Bottle Warmer Active
Described as 'The World's First Battery Powered Portable Bottle Warmer', the NUPEAA bottle warmer is perfect for parents on the go with a compact and slim design that can fit neatly in your baby bag.
It'll warm your baby's milk up to just the right temperature in as a little as six minutes and on a full charge, can retain the heat for up to six hours.
Perfect for breastfed babies and formula-fed babies too, the warmer even comes with a one-press formula dispenser, which dispenses a 3g measurement of powder.
Our tester Natalie, mum of James, 7 months, said: "It’s perfect for when you are travelling and need to make bottles on the go and it’s also useful at home as you can keep a full days’ worth of feeds in the fridge and just heat the bottles up as and when required. The temperature will hold for 6 hours on a full charge which is great for those middle of the night feeds."
3. MAM Electric Baby Bottle Steriliser & Express Bottle Warmer
Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022, this device is more than just a bottle warmer - it's an electric steriliser, microwave steriliser, cold water steriliser, food and bottle warmer and breast milk defroster in one! Plus, it comes with a MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic Baby Bottle, a MAM Slow Flow Teat and a MAM Baby Soother for newborns.
A great addition to your kitchen countertop without taking up too much space, the MAM's express warmer takes a matter of minutes to warm up food, formula, or breast milk with four different warming functions available.
The 'keep warm' function ensures that your baby bottle stays at the ideal temperature for up to 45 minutes. After that, it will automatically shut down for safety.
Our mum tester Doran said: "I would definitely recommend this product because it has helped me out a lot as I use it daily and it’s an amazing product it’s worth every penny. It’s so fast to use and quickly warms up the milk as sometimes you need it quickly. The design of the steriliser is perfect and easy to clean also it’s very hygienic as it makes the bottles stay disinfected for longer period of time."
Read the full tried and tested review from our real mum testers here.**
4. Babymoov Travel Bottle Warmer
The ultimate on-the-go bottle warmer, this handy device by Babymoov can heat bottles without needing batteries or an electricity supply, so it's great if you're heading away from civilisation. To get started with activating the warmer, all you have to do is twist the cap. To reactivate the heating system after each use, simply sterilise it using an electric or boiling water method.
The warmer accommodates bottles and jars of all shapes and sizes, and we especially love the carrying handle, which can be fixed to any pushchair.
You can warm milk up in just five minutes - the temperature will be maintained for approximately four to five hours, thanks to the neoprene isotherm casing.
One reviewer said: "The best bottle warmer I've ever bought. It is convenient to quickly heat up the milk (about 5/6 minutes) and beautiful aesthetically. The only flaw is that once activated it cannot be reused until it is sterilised. However, it is easy to clean."
5. NUK Thermo Express Bottle Warmer
Using steam, the NUK Thermo Express Bottle Warmer will gently warm your baby bottles and food jars in as little as 90 seconds. Designed to accommodate a range of bottles and jar sizes, the warmer includes a basket for lifting them in and out with ease.
To use - follow the guide to fill with the right amount of water, put it in your bottle or jar, and press the button to start. The automatic shut-off will kick in at the end of the heating phase, and the indicator light will go out, so you know it's ready to go!
One reviewer said: "I had tommee tippee bottle warmer from my friend, but it took ages to warm a milk. It took approx 10-15 minutes to get warm milk for a bottle from a fridge. You can imagine how it is your baby is hungry, so 10-15 mins was definitely too long. I was looking for a warmer, which will warm milk quickly. I decided to buy this one for main reasons: I trust this brand as I have their bottles and it had very good reviews.
"And I am not disappointed! It takes only 4 minutes to warm a bottle taken from a fridge. What a difference! This warmer is easy to use, easy to clean and doesn't take too much space on my kitchen counter.
"I really recommend this product, you won't be disappointed."
6. Dr Brown's Deluxe Electric Bottle Warmer & Steriliser
A bottle warmer and steriliser in one, this versatile appliance will make sure that your baby's feed is warmed to perfection and bottles are steam cleaned to remove any hidden nasties.
The bottle warmer comes with pre-programmed settings for different bottle sizes and starting temperatures to get your baby's food ready in no time, and a one-button start so you can use your last mode instantly.
It'll let you know when it's ready - it has an auto shut off and an audible alarm - and the large water reservoir will mean you won't need to worry about refilling too often.
This one fits all Dr Brown bottles and most other bottle brands.
7. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle & Food Warmer
The super affordable Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle & Food Warmer stores hot water to warm up expressed milk or water for bottle feed on the go.
Keeping the water warm for up to four hours, it can hold multiple food systems but has been made with the Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature range in mind.
Convenient, portable and BPA-free, you can't control the temperature but it's great for keeping bottles warm for short trips.
One reviewer said: "We did um and ah as we try to limit the amount of baby gadgets that are convenient to buy but unnecessary, this is essentially a thermos and some tupperware but it is SO convenient and easy to use. Because it screws together as one piece it is really easy to transport. For the price it is a no brainer. It will be perfect when our little moves to solid foods also.
"The thermos contains roughly 2 bottles worth of hot water and does keep the water hot for hours! It has made going out with the little one a breeze because you don’t have to rush hone to feed or ask for anything, you have it all with you."
8. Munchkin 37° Digital Baby Bottle Warmer
This smart bottle warmer heats each bottle up to body temperature and is super simple to use - just twist, flip, and press to warm your bottle. Designed to fit most major bottle brands, it includes five adapters to make them compatible and fit securely without the risk of leaks.
The device has a digital display that reads the initial liquid temperature and then adjusts as the temperature rises so you can clearly track the warmth of the milk. After which, it can hold the temperature for up to 30 minutes.
It's one touch and compact but while it looks ideal for travel, it does require to be plugged into mains.
One reviewer said: "Really happy with this product! It’s easy to use and holds the temperature and heat as advertised for 30 minutes which is great! Handy to have in the kitchen or around the house and it comes with different adapters (5) to fit the various manufacturers bottles on highly recommend!"
9. Nuby Natural Touch Electric Bottle and Food Warmer
This bottle warmer is all about making life easier for you as a parent. It has a hassle-free one-touch operation, a compact design for travel, and can fit all sizes, shapes, and brands of bottle.
The Nuby safely warms breast milk, formula, and baby food, even from frozen, in as little as three minutes. Simply add water as recommended in the instructions, load your bottle using the basket and touch to start.
It's worth noting that you'll need to leave the machine to cool for 10 minutes between uses and press firmly on the button to operate.
One reviewer said: "This bottle warmer is not the average bottle warmer! If you want the slow wait forever then do not buy this warmer! The switch on the front lights up when switched on, you pour the right amount of water into the warmer using the small plastic unit provided at the back of the warmer(instructions are given and quite clear) when the water evaporates the milk or food is ready and the unit switches off.
"If however, you use the unit as a normal warmer and add any amount of water the unit will boil and become a real hazard, by that I mean the water boils and splashes and can cause severe burns! So after all would I recommend the unit? Yes, because if you follow instructions this unit is the way forward as it heats at top speed with no waiting."
10. Philips Avent Fast Bottle Warmer with Smart Temperature Control
Compatible with Philips Avent bottles and most other commercially available baby bottles and jars, you can use this warmer to warm milk in as little as three minutes, defrost frozen milk and baby food, or keep warmed milk at the ideal temperature for 60 minutes.
Convenient and easy to use, the smart temperature control based on your feed's volume prevents milk and baby food from overheating and adjusts the heating pattern for fast warming.
It'll warm your bottles evenly with zero hotspots, but you'll need to keep an eye on the light indicator to turn it off yourself when it's done.
One reviewer said: "We bought this after a few weeks of bottle feeding and it instantly helped our sanity. no more waiting for bottles to warm for extended periods of time. 4mins and you're ready to feed."