We wanted to recommend a steriliser that would plug in and go, work intuitively and reliably, and be spacious enough to handle all the paraphernalia you want to throw at it.
But let’s get this out of the way at the start: like all steam appliances, including steam irons and kettles, electric sterilisers are prone to limescale build-up and can potentially break down. So why an electric steriliser, and why this one?
Well, the trade-off for a monthly descaling is efficiency and cost-effectiveness. No chemicals, no remembering to buy sterilising tablets, no squeezing containers into your microwave.
- Materials: BPA-free
- Included: Electric unit, measuring jug, tongs
- RRP: £75
The Dr Brown’s comes entirely pre-assembled, which means it can be plugged in and is immediately ready for use. It can then be repeatedly reused, with only the aforementioned descaling to maintain it.
The instruction manual, which is thorough and clear, includes a recipe for a natural descaling solution; the manufacturers recommend that this be done once every four weeks, although our tester descaled less often with no ill effects. For additional peace of mind, the Dr Brown’s comes with a one-year warranty.
The NHS recommends sterilising all your baby’s feeding equipment until they reach 12 months old – so you’ll likely find yourself, brave new parent, sterilising items in a range of sizes at least once a day. According to our calculations, the Dr Brown’s is decently conservative in its energy use, particularly as the length of cycle alters according to how many items you’re sterilising, so running it once a day won’t blow up your electricity bill.
In use, the Dr Brown’s feels well built and easy to manage. Square and sturdy, the accessories basket locks shut – great for keeping out little fingers – and the main compartment hinges open, so no possibility of knocking it over and spilling hot water.
There are two buttons on the control panel, one to turn the steriliser on, and one to start the eight-minute cycle. There are also three lighted symbols, so you can see at a glance whether the appliance is heating up, cooling down, or completed: one of the most intuitive designs we encountered.
I really can't recommend Dr Brown's steriliser enough - it's so easy to use.
Inside, the Dr Brown’s is generously sized. The Dr Brown’s bottles are among the tallest and widest on the market, so the steriliser fits just about any bottle you might use, as well as a variety of breast pump parts and toys.
Having a separate accessories basket for teats and dummies means there’s no chance of losing small items, and everything remains sterile for 24 hours as long as the lid is closed.
Unlike some competitors, the Dr Brown’s comes with a small measuring jug, so you can add the correct amount of water quickly and easily, and there’s also a set of tongs included, to spare burnt fingers and keep items sterile for longer.
There are some downsides, of course. It takes up more room on the counter than some and, because the lid hinges, the unit has to be pulled away from the wall a little before opening. As it’s not a modular design, the entire steriliser has to be tipped up to remove old water.
But by the end of the testing period, the Dr Brown’s had stayed out in our tester’s kitchen the longest, its reliability and efficiency entirely taken for granted – and in those stressful early baby days, we reckon there’s no higher praise than that.
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