Best Microwave Steriliser 2020
Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser review
More capacious than a travel steriliser, less bulky than an electric one and only requiring water to work, microwave sterilisers occupy an often-useful middle ground for many parents. Philips’ ubiquitous Avent brand includes a microwave steam steriliser that is robust, roomy, safe and straightforward to use – though, like our tester, you’ll need to measure your microwave first.
Good for parents who
- Have a small kitchen or don’t want to keep a unit on display full-time
- Want to use steam sterilisation, but are on a tighter budget
- Use around four bottles a day, plus breast pump parts
- Can be stored in a cupboard when not in use – good for smaller kitchens
- Keeps items sterile for 24 hours
- Short two- to six-minute cycle
- Fits four bottles plus other parts – fairly roomy
- At £34.99, it’s more expensive than, say, the Tommee Tippee Essentials 2-in-1 Microwave Steriliser, which we also tested and liked
- It’s fairly large so won’t fit in especially compact microwaves
- A four-bottle capacity might not be enough for a family on full-time bottle feeding
- Materials: BPA-free plastic
- Included: Steriliser and heat-safe tongs
- Available from a wide range of retailers, including Boots and Amazon
- RRP: £34.99
I sterilise my electric Philips Avent breast pump in the microwave steriliser and it works fine.
What’s it like to purchase and assemble?
The vast Philips Avent ecosystem is a real advantage here – the Microwave Steam Steriliser is widely available, including in several larger supermarkets, and is supported by Philips’ responsive and detailed customer care system.
There are digital manuals, FAQs and customer service lines readily available on the Philips website, which should help to solve any problems that might arise. All Philips’ parenting products come with an automatic two-year warranty, which gives some added reassurance.
The instructions included are quite text heavy, but do include some illustrations and are relatively easy to understand. Teat tongs are included for lifting out objects after each cycle.
There’s no assembly required, but you’ll need to run one empty cycle before using the steriliser properly so bear that in mind before you begin.
Is the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser safe?
The unit is made from tough, BPA-free plastics that won’t degrade or damage baby bottles inside. The lid fits well onto the base with clips to lock it securely so children won’t be able to knock it off accidentally and burn themselves. Our tester, Maisie, particularly appreciated this feature, especially with three young children at home.
The inner tray is formed with notches to position the four bottles it can hold, which means they’ll stay in place throughout the cycle and sterilise properly.
When it comes to taking the steriliser out of the microwave and making sure no fingers get burnt, Mumsnet users recommend waiting a few minutes before taking off the lid. Philips do the same in the steriliser’s instructions.
What’s the steriliser like in day-to-day use?
The instructions are quite specific about how to arrange bottles and breast pump parts on the steriliser’s inner tray, but our tester found it easy enough to do (and also to ignore when she wanted to sterilise non-standard parts). There’s plenty of room inside for large bottles, small toys, dummies and breast pump paraphernalia.
Cycle lengths depend on the wattage of your microwave: two minutes for 1200W to 1850W, four minutes for 850W to 1100W or six minutes for 500W to 800W. Even the longest option is quite a bit shorter than many of the sterilisers we tested, such as the Milton Cold Water or the Dr Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Steriliser.
Once the cycle is complete, the items inside will stay sterile for 24 hours if the lid is kept in place.
Our tester did say that it would be helpful to have the water level marked on the unit itself in case the instructions were lost. As the steriliser didn’t come with a measuring jug, you’ll need to measure that accurately yourself.
While obviously larger than a travel model, the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser is still smaller than an electric unit and therefore easier to store when not in use, in a cupboard or in the microwave itself.
Watch out if you have a small microwave though. Our tester struggled to fit the steriliser into hers, which, of course, impacted ease of use. For reference, the Philips is 16.6 × 28 × 28cm.
Also, it isn't really portable enough to transport regularly to a grandparent’s house, but could be a good option to buy for them to keep there.
I had an Avent Microwave Steriliser at my mum's. Just make sure it fits in your microwave.
Is the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser easy to keep clean?
Handily, this is one of the only larger units we tested that was explicitly dishwasher-safe, which should make it easier to keep clean.
It’s not difficult to keep clean without a dishwasher, though – just a quick scrub with warm soapy water will restore it to pristine condition.
Our tester found that it didn’t pick up crumbs or attract dust and it doesn’t have any crannies where dirt could hide either.
How does it look?
The steriliser has a white base, a clear plastic lid and blue clips and inner tray.
It looks well-made, but isn’t especially designed for aesthetics, and it doesn’t come in any other colours. As it’s unlikely to stay out on the kitchen counter, though, this hardly matters.
Is it good value for money?
The RRP of the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser is £34.99, which is half the price of an electric steam model like the Tommee Tippee Super-Steam Advanced Electric Steriliser, Mumsnet's Best Steriliser 2020 – though, of course, the microwave version can hold fewer bottles than most electric models.
We also found it on sale by at least £10 in several different places, so you’re unlikely to pay full price.
Assuming an 850W microwave running one cycle a day, electricity should cost around 25p per month, which is negligible – that’s thanks to the short cycle time.
All in all, our tester found the Philips Avent Microwave Steriliser a very useful compromise for those with a smaller kitchen or a tighter budget – roomy enough for a decent amount of equipment, with some thoughtful safety features, and compact enough to stow away when you’re not using it.
It feels well made and, with the ubiquitous Philips brand behind it, well supported. Just remember to measure your microwave first.
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For more information about what to look for when buying a steriliser, check out our buyer's guide.
All prices correct at time of publication
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