Browse the best baby sterilisers – from cold-water systems and UV sterilisers to microwave and electric options
Getting yourself the best steriliser is one of the easiest ways to keep your baby’s feeding products bacteria-free, and is highly recommended by the NHS. Sterilising is particularly necessary for newborn babies. In fact, anything that comes into contact with your baby’s mouth should be sterilised until they’re 12 months old.
The need to sterilise will lessen toward the end of baby’s first year since children start to explore the world and their immune system is exposed to – and learns to deal with – germs and bacteria.
Baby sterilisers can be used for the obvious items such as bottles and dummies, but they can also be used to clean bottle teats, breast pumps, toys, and even non-baby objects such as cosmetic brushes and mobile phones. Whether they clean using steam, cold water or go in the microwave, sterilisers ensure your baby’s feeding equipment is free from harmful bugs and bacteria.
Below, we offer tips on how to choose the best steriliser for your family and then read on to discover our pick of some of the best baby sterilisers available.
Best sterilisers: At a glance
|Best for quick drying
|Dr Brown’s Steam Bottle Steriliser & Dryer | £110
|Check price at Baby Central
|Best easy-to-use steriliser
|MeacoDry Arete One 20L | £260
|Check price at John Lewis
|Best budget sterilising option for travel
|Max Strength Microwave Steriliser Bags | £10
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best steriliser for you
What are the different types of steriliser?
Baby sterilisers have come a long way, especially in the past five years. The three main types of sterilisers are steam units (which can be used electronically or in the microwave), cold-water systems, and UV light sterilisers. Some have two tiers, while others are combination sterilisers suitable for both microwave and cold-water sterilising.
If you have many things to sterilise in a day (perhaps you have twins or large breast pump accessories to clean), a larger unit might be best. If budget is a concern, cold-water or microwave sterilisation systems tend to be more economical, yet still very effective solutions.
How do steam sterilisers work?
A steam steriliser does exactly what it says on the tin: it sterilises baby’s equipment using steam to kill germs. There are a few different ways you can sterilise with steam.
One method is to use a unit that plugs straight into the mains, while others can be placed in the microwave to heat up. Another clever and easy technique, which takes around three to six minutes, is to use microwave bags. This is perfect for those times you might be travelling (though you do have to find water and a microwave).
How do I use a cold water system?
The cold water sterilisation method has been around for many years and kills germs by using a tablet or fluid that dissolves into cold water. Items are placed in this mixed solution, which can be used both at home or if you’re out and about. The best part about this method is that this cold water solution can be reused for the next 24 hours after the initial setup. Cold water sterilising can take around 15 minutes to get items sterile.
What is a UV steriliser?
A UV steriliser is a popular and efficient sterilising method that’s adopted in hospitals and dental practices across the UK. It uses an ultraviolet light to sterilise equipment; it doesn’t require water. Ultraviolet models are usually more expensive than other types of steriliser, but they don’t use any chemicals, nor do they require descaling, which can be a huge bonus. However, it will take anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes to complete a sterilising cycle.
How much space do I need for a steriliser?
The amount of counter and/or storage space you’ll need for your steriliser depends on the model you go for, and whether your sterilising unit comes equipped with accessories such as bottles, bottle warmers or a drying rack. Most sterilisers are around the size of a standard kitchen appliance, such as a cake mixer. Some sterilisers are two-tiered so will require headroom. Some sterilisers are two-tiered or more, so will require headroom.
Cold-water units vary in size, and you’ll also need somewhere to safely store the dissolvable tablets. Microwave steriliser bags take up minimal space and can fit in a nappy bag or even a drawer with your sandwich bags.
Is there anything else I need to consider?
Since babies have such fragile immune systems, they’re more susceptible to stomach-related illnesses, so it’s important to wash bottles with soap and warm water before sterilising them. Warm milk, in particular, can be a breeding ground for nasty germs, so washing them first will ensure any remaining milk bacteria is eliminated.
How we test sterilisers
Every product we recommend is tested at home by a journalist with a lifestyle the product fits. In the case of sterilisers, our reviewers are parents, which means they’re able to provide honest and detailed information about how each piece of kit performs day to day.
For this article, we considered a wide range of factors, including how much space the steriliser takes up, the functions it offers, how easy it is to set up and use, value for money and, of course, its efficacy. You’ll also find key specs at the end of each review that includes information such as the number of bottles it can hold, the type of sterilisation it offers, and whether or not the product is travel friendly.
READ NEXT: The best baby formula to buy
The best sterilisers you can buy in 2024
1. MAM Electric Steriliser & Express Bottle Warmer: Best versatile sterilising set for new parents
Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at MAM
MAM has long been a go-to brand for baby bottles, soothers, breastfeeding products and sterilisers, so it’s little wonder this all-singing, all-dancing piece of kit performed well in testing. Helpfully offering six functions in one, this steriliser can be used as an electric or a microwave steam steriliser, provides two bottle warming options, plus a keep-warm function and can defrost or warm food when you eventually start weaning.
The fact it can perform so many different jobs is what makes this steriliser stand out, and despite feeling a tad overwhelmed by all the different parts when it was first unboxed, it didn’t take long for our tester to get to grips with how each part functions. In the box, you’ll also get an Easy Start anti-colic bottle, soother and a set of teat tongs, which makes it a great starter pack for new parents.
The electric steriliser works quickly and efficiently, and having the option to detach the steriliser from the electric base and use it in the microwave is super helpful for holidays and overnight grandparent visits. Once sterilised, the bottles will remain sterile for up to 48 hours in the machine.
Key details – Type: Electric and microwave steam steriliser; Capacity: Approx 5 bottles; Travel-friendly: Yes
2. Baby Brezza One-Step Steriliser Dryer Advanced: Best for large capacity
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at John LewisA steriliser with a dryer might not be top of your baby registry right now, but once you give this Baby Brezza steam steriliser and dryer a go, we promise you won’t look back! It might be one of the pricier pieces of kit on our list, but if you’re planning on exclusively bottle- or combi-feeding your baby it’s well worth the spend for the ample capacity alone.
This machine can hold up to eight bottles as well as two sets of breast pump parts, with three trays – a lower basket, upper basket and accessory tray – which can be configured four different ways depending on what and how much you need to sanitise in one go.
Considering the capacity, it’s pretty sleek and compact, and doesn’t look ugly or out of place on a kitchen countertop. We found it incredibly easy to set-up and use too, despite there being a number of parts to it. There’s an easy to navigate LED control panel showcasing all the various functions (including a dry only and sterilise only function) and tongs that can be used to grasp bottle parts – like teats – or which click into place to lift the baskets or tray.
There’s a HEPA filter included in the box, but keep in mind, as with all steam sterilisers, this will need to be replaced every three months.
Key details – Type: Electric steam steriliser/dryer; Capacity: Approx 8 bottles, 2 x sets of breast pump parts; Travel-friendly: No
3. Milton Cold-Water Sterilising Unit: Best cold-water baby steriliser
Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Boots
One of the easiest ways to sterilise your baby’s bottles and other feeding equipment is via cold water sterilisation. The Milton cold water sterilising unit is a 5l container with a lid that locks tightly and a handle for easy transportation. You can sterilise items in as little as 15 minutes using Milton’s sterilising tablets or fluid, and the solution itself will conveniently remain sterile for 24 hours.
Having one sterilising solution all day is handy and it helps with multiple baby feeds, allowing you to take things in and out of it throughout the day. We love that there’s a spout to empty the solution and, as with most Milton products, there’s no need to rinse the sterilised items prior to using them. To use, simply wash your bottles, dummies and so on beforehand, put them in the solution, wait 15 minutes and you’re good to go.
Key details – Type: Cold-water sterilisation; Capacity: Approx 5, 260ml bottles; Travel-friendly: Yes
4. Nanobébé Microwave Steam Steriliser: Best microwave steriliser
Price when reviewed: £27 | Check price at Nanobébé
With so much on their plates, all parents really want is simple-to-use, good-value products that just work – and this lightweight steriliser from Nanobébé couldn’t be any easier.
The unit steams feeding equipment in the microwave in as little as four minutes, keeping items sterile for 24 hours. The kit includes one of Nanobébés Flexy dummies, and the steriliser can fit around four standard-size bottles inside, alongside a few smaller items such as feeding spoons.
All you have to do to get all your baby’s items sterile is wash everything (such as bottles, teats and breast pump parts) beforehand, pop them in the unit, and place it into the microwave. The steriliser has been designed to fit most standard-size microwaves, is easy to clean and can be stored in a cupboard when not in use.
As one of the most budget-friendly options, it’s a no-brainer if you can’t decide on which of the more expensive sterilisers to opt for.
Key details – Type: Microwave/steam steriliser; Capacity: Approx 4 bottles; Travel-friendly: Yes
5. Vital Baby Nurture Advanced Pro UV Steriliser & Dryer: Best UV steriliser
Price when reviewed: £99 | Check price at Vital Baby
For a fast-sterilising system without the need for water, this UV steriliser plugs in and has everything sterile and ready for instant use after seven minutes. As well as sterilising bottles, dummies and teats, it also cleans keys, cosmetic brushes, toys and mobile phones, for added versatility – though it’s worth noting that you can’t sterilise latex by UV LED, so some dummies and teething toys could be out.
This unit is one of the most advanced on the market, and a typical clean and dry cycle takes 29 minutes. It has four operating modes, including a 72-hour Store mode cycle that activates the UV light for 60 seconds every hour after drying and sterilising, to keep everything sterile for up to three days. Sterilise mode uses a UV light to clean items in seven minutes, while a Dry mode has all items dry in 17 minutes.
Our tester reviewed the Advanced Pro UV in Arctic White and loved that this modern, sleek and compact unit didn’t look out of place on their countertop. It’s very quiet when in use, too.
Our only bugbear is that the number of items it can hold is quite limited – four bottles was a squeeze for our tester – despite the product itself being as large as some of the other sterilisers on our list in size.
Key details – Type: Electric/UV steriliser; Capacity: Approx. 4 bottles (max height 16cm); Travel-friendly: No
6. Dr Brown’s Steam Bottle Steriliser & Dryer: Best for quick drying
Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at Baby Central
For an easy-to-use, plug-in-and-go option, this multifunctional item from Dr Brown’s will steam and dry up to six bottles at once, and it’s equally great for speedily sterilising and drying other items such as the various parts of a breast pump, teethers and dummies. You can also use it in sterilise- and dry-only modes.
This steriliser is certainly well built, and although it takes up a fair amount of kitchen counter space, it actually looks like a sleek piece of equipment. It’s sturdy, and since it’s been designed to hold six Dr Brown’s bottles, it’s generously sized; these bottles are some of the tallest and widest out there. That means that even if you use alternative bottle brands, you’re likely to be able to fit in a good number of items.
We found it intuitive and simple to use – it even comes with a measuring cup so you can be sure you’re adding the right amount of water each time.
Key details – Type: Electric/steam steriliser; Capacity: Approx 6 bottles; Travel-friendly: No
7. Milton Combi: Best combination steriliser
Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at Amazon
This brilliant 2-in-1 option from Milton gives you the best of both worlds, with the option to either microwave or cold water sterilise your baby’s bottles. The BPA-free tub is somewhat bulky but it’s lightweight, with a strong and sturdy carry handle that makes it an excellent choice for trips away when a microwave might not be readily available.
Much like the brand’s cold water option, the solution in this steriliser will also remain sterile for up to 24 hours, allowing you to conveniently use throughout the day or store overnight ready for the next morning.
When time is of the essence, the microwave option takes just two minutes. All you need to do is pop washed bottles in the base, fill the unit with 200ml of water, click the safety vent down and zap.
Key details – Type: Microwave and cold-water sterilisation; Capacity: 5x 240ml bottles; Travel-friendly: Yes
8. Medela Quick Clean Microwave Bags: Best for convenience and travel
Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at John LewisThese space-saving reusable bags from Medela are a super handy way to sanitise bottles, dummies, breastfeeding equipment and more on the go (or wherever there’s a microwave). The brand is renowned for its excellent range of breast pumps and bottles, but these easy-to-use bags make a great addition to your feeding arsenal too, sterilising everything in just three minutes.
Our tester loved that they were portable and simple to store – folding up and slipping neatly inside a suitcase or changing bag for when you’re out and about. Each bag can be used up to 20 times and there’s a little check box in the corner so you can tick off each use as you go.
Though these won’t replace a traditional steriliser for practical reasons, you can fit in around one to two bottles and some accessories such as feeding spoons and dummies, so they’re great for emergencies, overnight stays and travel.
Key details – Type: Microwave bags; Capacity: Approx 1-2 bottles, 1 dummy, 1 feeding spoon per bag; Travel-friendly: Yes
9. Tommee Tippee Ultra UV Steriliser, Dryer & Storage: Best easy-to-use steriliser
Price when reviewed: £99 | Check price at Amazon
Tommee Tippee was one of the first brands to introduce a UV steriliser. As we’ve mentioned, using UV light technology to sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment means there are no chemicals, tablets or water involved in the process, as well as no need to constantly wipe condensation off the countertops. It’s one of the most hygienic, mess-free ways to sterilise – albeit a bit costlier.
This mini-fridge-style unit sterilises and dries bottles in 60 minutes and keeps the contents sterile for 24 hours, as long as the door is closed. Like other UV sterilisers, the Tommee Tippee Ultra UV unit has a few useful modes that can sterilise, dry or do both consecutively.
Our favourite setting is Storage mode, which allows the UV light to run every couple of hours to keep items sterilised throughout the day. The kit includes two washable filters, and its UV bulb lasts for up to 6,000 hours.
Key details – Type: Electric/UV steriliser; Capacity: Approx 5 bottles; Travel-friendly: No
10. Max Strength Microwave Steriliser Bags: Best budget sterilising option for travel
Price when reviewed: £10 (pack of 10) | Check price at AmazonLike the Medela bags (above), if space is of the essence, these Max Strength microwave steriliser bags could be just what you need. They work in the exact same way as the Medela bags, sterilising everything in just three minutes, but are a little more affordable.
These reusable bags come in a pack of 10, with each bag usable up to 20 times. There are also handy checkboxes on the outside so you can mark a tick after each use. Bear in mind, there’s a steam vent on the right-hand side, so be careful when taking them out of the microwave so as not to burn yourself. The bags aren’t too big (they’re around the size of a medium-sized clutch bag), so are ideal for outings and holidays, too.
Key details – Type: Microwave bags; Capacity: Approx 2 bottles, 1 dummy and 1 feeding spoon per bag; Travel-friendly: Yes