The Lifefactory glass bottle is a great little bottle that is easy for parents to use and easy for most babies to latch on to. We like that this body has an eco-healthy borosilicate glass body that is thermal and shock resistant. The silicone sleeve makes it easy for baby to grip and offers some protection from drops and accidental throwing. This bottle is easy to clean, easy to assemble, has limited parts and a nipple that didn't collapse and didn't seem to contribute to air ingestion. Babies were able to hold this bottle easily despite it being heavier, thanks to the grippy sleeve and babies in our testing had no difficulty latching onto the nipple even though it is on the narrow side and one of the least breast like in this review. When baby is ready to move on from bottles, a sippy cup lid can be purchased to prolong the life of the bottle body. There is much to like and not much to dislike about this simple and cool looking bottle.
The Tommee Tippee bottle is a contoured plastic bottle body that is easy for baby to hold. The bottle has 3 parts not counting the dust cover and is easy to assemble and clean thanks to the wide mouth neck and squat design. We liked the volume markings on the outside, the dual vent system in the nipple and the wide mound shaped nipple that is easy for most babies to use. This bottle didn't leak when feeding or in transport and it is easy to transfer liquids into. While plastic may not be our favorite material, there is something to be admired about a budget friendly bottle that makes babies and parents happy in its thoughtful design and simple features. Even if your goal is to avoid babies exposure to plastics, this option might make a good on the go or day care stand in if you have concerns about your glass bottle being used by others.
The Comotomo is unlike anything else in this review, and frankly anything else we've seen. Neither glass nor plastic, this all silicone body and nipple are the only component that come in contact with baby's food. We like that this bottle has the most breast like nipple for easy transfers from breast to bottle and back again, and we like that the squeezable body can be gently massaged for a real "milk let-down" that mimics mother's own feeding system. This bottle has a super side mouth that makes transferring liquids a snap and allows for easy cleaning without special tools. The bottle is easy to assemble and both parents and babies seem to like the unique design and innovative features of this cool bottle.
Analysis and Test Results
Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass in action.
Some babies will take to just about any bottle whether they've experienced the breast or not, but many babies have difficulties with new bottles and nipples causing frustration for parents and baby alike. With so many bottle options on the market, it isn't as simple as picking one off the shelf and throwing it in your cart. What if baby likes a wider more breast like nipple? What if you have decided to limit baby's exposure to plastic? What if baby is prone to gas and colic? Knowing which bottle might be your best bet given all the different shapes, sizes, materials, vents, valves and nipples that today's selection of baby bottles has to offer can be a daunting task. We considered 30 of the most popular bottles on the market before choosing 9 to test side-by-side.
Types of Bottles
The 9 baby bottles tested in our Best Baby Bottle review.
There are three main types of baby bottles with an increasing amount of variation beyond that. Bottles bodies either come in plastic, glass or stainless steel. Sometimes the plastic options are plastic liners, verses a hard container, but they are plastic nonetheless.
The Munchkin Latch is a plastic bottle with silicone nipple and internal valve.
Plastic baby bottles have plastic bodies, caps, covers, and sometimes internal components. These bottles have silicone nipples and sometimes silicone valves inside the bottle where they come in contact with the liquid. Some of these bottles are a basic bottle shape and others are contoured to help make gripping easier. Plastic is generally lighter and often easier to hold, but hard to clean, easier to scratch than glass leaving places for bacteria to grow, and contents can cling to the inside or leave odors behind.
The Kiinde Squeeze works with the Kiinde Twist pouches that can go from pump to storage to bottle with no liquid transfer.
Some of the bottles we looked at have liners or pouches that hold the milk and attach to a bottle body that is a frame to support the liner and for baby or parents to hold during feedings. These bottles are also primarily plastic with only one offering a liner that is recyclable. In general, we weren't big fans of these because they produce excess waste, need to be continually purchased, make your bottle worthless if you run out in the middle of the night, and are made of plastic (something we aren't big fans of). Few seemed to really make the process simpler, the Kiinde Squeeze
, and some even increased the number of containers used from pumping to storing to liner.
We did review a bottle that is entirely made of silicone, the Comotomo, which won our Top Pick Award for Innovation. Silicone is often mistaken for plastic, but it is technically part of the rubber family. Silicone is considered a food-safe and non-toxic alternative to plastic, made largely of silica (sand), the same basic material used to make glass. It has many of the benefits of plastic such as being lightweight and nearly unbreakable. We consider silicone to be a better material for baby bottles in terms of health and safety risks than plastic, but not quite as good as glass. On the other hand, silicone offers the convenience of plastic and might be just right for parents who find glass too heavy and breakable.
Lifefactory bottle with the sleeve removed. You can remove or leave the sleeve on for cleaning.
Glass bottles have a glass body, usually shock resistant borosilicate glass, and a plastic collar and silicone nipple. Some of these bottles offer a silicone sleeve with the bottle that helps make the bottle easier to hold and offers a little bit of protection from occasional dropping. The important thing to note is that glass bottles can and do break so extra care is needed. However, in our tests we did not have any break even from intentional drops. Glass bottles are usually heavier than plastic and the silicone sleeve can make them easier for little ones to hold by themselves. Glass is easier to clean, harder to scratch, and contents don't cling to the side or leave odors behind.
The Pura Kiki Stainless Steel bottle with silicone nipple.
Stainless steel is a nice recyclable material that is eco-healthy, lighter than glass, and easy to clean. However, it is impossible to tell how much baby has drunk without opening the bottle, and for that reason we don't prefer stainless for infant bottles. Of the stainless bottles, our favorite is the Pura Kiki Infant
. Pura offers their bottles for use as sippy cups, which won awards in our best transition sippy
and sippy cup
Nipple Venting and Internal Valves
The photos above show different kinds of valves and venting systems that all claim to help reduce gas, burping, colic, and spit up. From left to right they are the internal bottom blue valve of the Munchkin Latch
, the internal vent system of Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass
, and the dual vented nipple of the Comotomo
Each bottle manufacturer offered their own take on nipples and venting or valves designed to help reduce the ingestion of air while baby feeds. Some have simple vents in the nipple itself, while others have complicated internal systems that sit in the contents and require special brushes to keep clean. Some nipples have ridges, internal petals, accordion angles and more to make them supposedly easier for baby to drink from. One in our testing even has an internal valve that inserts in the bottom of the bottle.
Criteria for Evaluation
When testing each bottle we considered several different attributes and performance metrics to determine category scores and overall ranks. The main metrics are leakage, nipples, ease of cleaning, ease of use, and eco-health. Each metric had a variety of tests and hands on use by baby testers and their parents in side-by side comparisons to determine which options performed better than others.
With a narrow, small nipple, The Medela was the least breast-like and resulted in a poor latch with milk leakage when feeding. The Medela also leaked around the collar if you tightened it too much and earned the lowest score in the group for leakage.
The one thing a bottle shouldn't do is leak. While some leak a little around the nipple when baby is drinking, a phenomenon not unlike what happens during breastfeeding, none should leak while being transported or in a diaper bag. Leaking inside a diaper bag can lead to a stinky wet mess and lack of food for baby when you reach your destination. Leaking excessively while feeding can lead to a mess and a frustrated baby who has difficulty drinking, or at the very least a loss of potential food that leaves baby still feeling hungry. This metric is one of the most important in transition and sippy cups, and while it may not be the most important for bottles it is still a priority for most parents to avoid the mess and loss of liquid leaking leads to.
Given this, we tested each bottle for leakage and how likely it is to leak while feeding, in a diaper bag, or simply sitting on the counter or in the fridge. Our tests were conducted side-by-side and helped us determine which could hold their liquid and which had difficulty. The high score for leakage is a 9 shared by 3 different bottles including the Editors' Choice option, the Lifefactory
glass bottle, which didn't leak while baby fed or while in the diaper bag. The low score is a 4 for the Medela Breastmilk
bottle that leaked both from the nipple and the collar if it is screwed on too tight.
Babies in our tests had no difficulty latching on the Natralatch nipple that came with the Playtex Nurser, which resulted in it earning one of the top scores for this metric.
Every bottle has a nipple design and shape they are fairly proud of and it is one of the features that most manufacturers really brag about in their advertising. All are made of silicone, but some are shaped more like a natural breast, like the Comotomo
, and some offer internal design features that help prevent nipple collapse or limit the amount of air intake while feeding to help prevent colic, gas, and spit up. The high score for nipple design and performance in this group is a 9 earned by the Playtex Nurser
and the Comotomo
, our Top Pick award winner that looks almost exactly like an actual breast. The low score for nipple performance is the Medela
with a 4 and a narrow nipple that inverted frequently in our tests.
Ease of Cleaning
The photos above show the Tommee Tippee
being hand washed and set to dry.
Cleaning is the part of bottle-dom that many parents dread. With some bottles having very narrow necks that are difficult to clean with a standard bottle brush and others requiring special tiny brushes for cleaning venting systems this metric can be of significant importance if you want to spend more time with
baby and less time cleaning up. We gave preference to bottles with few parts to clean, wide necks for easier cleaning with a brush or an ordinary sponge, and no special parts to clean with tiny bottle brushes.
Some of the easiest bottles to clean had disposable liners where the liquid is kept and thus only had 1 or 2 parts that needed to be cleaned. The Kiinde Squeeze
and the Playtex Nurser
both have the liners and earned a score of 10 for cleaning because you really only need to clean the nipple on a regular basis. Of these we preferred the Kiinde
for several reasons, but primarily because the liner is recyclable and it can go from pump to storage to bottle with no transfer needed. The highest scoring bottle without a liner is the Philips AVENT Natural Glass
with a 9 and only 3 parts to clean that don't really need any special brushes to clean well. The low score for the group is a 4 for the Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass
which has a venting system inside the bottle that requires small narrow bottle brushes to clean.
Ease of Use
A bottle needs to be easy to use for baby and parents, or it isn't likely to be used often and will end up as parts floating around in a cupboard somewhere. The ease of use metric included things like how easy it is to assemble and disassemble, how heavy it is, how difficult it is for baby to hold or parents to manage, and how well it traveled. We also considered whether or not it needed
liquid transfer (the Kiinde
does not), if the neck opening was wide enough for easy transfer, and if the venting or valve system was easy to assemble and seemed to work as advertised. We liked bottles that were easy to put together, easy for baby to hold, and didn't require complicated venting systems to reduce the intake of air so parents could assemble it even when sleep deprived.
The Tommee Tippee bottle has 3 parts not counting the dust cap used for travel and keeping the nipple clean.
The high score for ease of use is 9 shared by Tommee Tippee Feeding
(our Best Value Winner) and Lifefactory
bottles. Both bottles offer features that make them easier for baby to hold, they have limited parts for quick and easy assembly, and they make liquid transfer simple with wider necks. The low score in the group is a 3 for the Kiinde Squeeze
that seems like it should be easy to use, but is very difficult thanks to a longer liner bag that is hard to pump with and a limited volume ability that requires changing the bags mid-feeding sometimes up to 3 times if baby is older or very hungry.
Editors' Choice Lifefactory glass baby bottle with silicone sleeve, here in 4 ounce size.
Eco-health is kind of a big deal around here at BabyGearLab. So much so that we have written an entire article on whether or not Plastics are Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups
. In general, we prefer glass and stainless steel over plastic materials for baby products but stainless doesn't allow you to see through the bottle and see how much an infant has taken, and thus aren't our favorites for infant bottles. And, while stainless steel remains is one of favorite options for sippy cups
, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine noted in their Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants
(pdf) that "steel containers were associated with a marked decline in cell count and cell viability when compared to polyethylene and to glass
." Glass is recyclable, can be used for an extended period of time, doesn't scratch very easily, is easier to clean than plastic. Plastics are our least favorite, because even though they are BPA free they could still potentially be leaching chemicals into their contents. We think it is best to limit baby's exposure to plastics whenever possible. All of the nipples are made with silicone, which is an industry standard and generally considered safe.
The liners for the Playtex Nurser are not recyclable and do not attach to any breast pump, unlike the Kiinde Squeeze that goes direct from pump to storage to bottle in the same liner.
We really disliked the bottles with plastic liners and feel they have the lowest eco-heath performance both because they are made of plastic and because they are most likely going to end up in the landfill (even though Kiinde
options are recyclable). We gave higher scores to bottle that have the least amount of impact on the environment and baby's health. The highest score for eco-health is a 9 earned by the Lifefactory
glass bottle. Which is made of primarily glass with a silicone sleeve and nipple. This bottle is environmentally friendly and can be used as baby gets older with a sippy cap in the place of the nipple. We do wish we had included the Joovy Boob
in this review that comes in a glass version because we are very curious about this newer glass addition to the bottle market; it has gotten good reviews from users on Amazon and we will likely include it in our next update of this review. It is similar to the Lifefactory in that it is glass, and some even come with silicone sleeves for easier gripping and protection from drops. The lowest score is a 2 for the Playtex Nurser
that is almost entirely plastic, save for the nipple, and has disposable pouches that are not recyclable.
The 9 baby bottles we tested in our Best Baby Bottle review.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to bottles, and we hope that our review and analysis has helped you narrow down to top contenders that will work for you and your baby. Keep in mind that some experimentation is often required to find the bottle that meets your needs, and that your baby will take to. Until you've found the perfect bottle, we'd recommend buying one at a time, so you don't overinvest in a particular type of bottle before you've confirmed it is going to work well for you.