Update — September 2017
A few of the bottles here have been updated since the time of the review, however, all changes have been noted and our award winners remain the same.
Best Overall Baby Bottle
Lifefactory Glass Bottle
Easy to latch
Harder to clean
Potential to break
The Lifefactory Glass Bottle
is a great glass bottle with easy latching for baby and parents love it. The body is an eco-healthy borosilicate glass that is thermal and shock resistant with a silicone sleeve that offers some protection from drops and throwing. This bottle is easy to clean and assemble, made with only a few manageable parts. The Lifefactory features a nipple that doesn't collapse and didn't appear to contribute to the additional ingestion of air. Babies are able to hold this option without any trouble despite its heft, thanks to the grippy silicone sleeve. In our tests, little ones had no difficulty latching onto the nipple even though it is on the narrow side and one of the least breast-like we tested. If all that isn't enough, this bottle can be converted to a water bottle for older babies with a sippy cup lid (sold separately), which increases its longevity and value. There is much to like and not much to dislike about this simple and cool looking bottle.
Read Full Review: Lifefactory Glass Bottle
Best Value in Baby Bottles
Tommee Tippee Feeding
$3.29 each (in 4-pack)
Easy to latch
Easy to use and clean
Leaks a little while feeding
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle
is a plastic bottle that has a squat contoured shape that is easy for small hands to grab onto and for parents to fill. Not counting the dust cover, this wide mouth bottle consists of only three pieces, which simplifies both assembly and cleaning. A few of our favorite features were the easy to see volume markings, the dual vent system in the nipple, and the mound shaped nipple that encourages a good latch. In our tests this bottle didn't leak although some is to be expected while feeding, and the large size of the opening makes liquid transfers a sinch. While we are not huge fans of plastic, we will admit that with its thoughtful design and simple features, this budget-friendly bottle satisfies both babies and parents alike. If the eco-health concerns of plastics concern you enough to keep this from being a full time option, this bottle would make an excellent on the go or daycare backup if you worry about your main bottle being used or broken.
Read Full Review: Tommee Tippee Bottle
Top Pick for Innovation
$9.76 each (in 2-pack)
"Let down" action
Easy to latch
Unstable when standing
Takes longer to heat contents
silicone bottle is unlike anything else we tested, and frankly anything else we've seen on the market. Using neither glass nor plastic (the industry standards), this product has a silicone body and nipple, which are the only components that come in contact with baby's food. We like the breast-like nipple for easier transfers from breast to bottle and back again, and we like that the squeezable body can be massaged for a real "milk let-down" that mimics breastfeeding. This bottle has a super-sized mouth that makes transferring liquids a snap and allows for easy cleaning without special tools. This bottle is easy to assemble, and both parents and babies like the unique design and innovative features.
Read Full Review: Comotomo
Analysis and Test Results
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 style nipple? What if you have decided to limit your little one's exposure to plastic? What if your 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 can be a daunting task. We considered 30 of the trending bottles on the market before choosing 9 to test side-by-side.
The table above provides a comparison of the overall scores for each bottle seat we tested in this review. These scores are a combination of the individual metric scores. Metric scores are derived from hands-on test results from our in-house tests or user experience "in the field". Overall scores were computed with an emphasis on leakage and nipple scores.
The top 9 baby bottle contenders used by tiny tested for our Best Baby Bottle showdown.
When using each bottle, we considered several different performance metrics to determine scores and overall ranks.The information in the sections below provides in-depth testing details.
Leak test in progress. After 20 minutes, some caps were filled with milk!
The one thing a bottle shouldn't do is have leaks. While some leak a little around the nipple when a 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. Excessively leaking while feeding can result in a mess and a frustrated child who has difficulty drinking or at the very least a loss of potential nutrition 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 food.
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 9 shared by three 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.
Most babies have an easy time latching in a natural fashion to the wide-mouthed nipple of the Comotomo.
Every bottle has a nipple design and shape they are proud of, and it is one of the features that most manufacturers brag about in their advertising. Silicone makes up all of the nipples we tested, 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 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 narrower nipple that frequently inverted in our tests.
Washing the Tommee Tippee bottles is super easy thanks to wide mouth bottles and only three parts that need regular cleaning.
Ease of Cleaning
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 very important if you want to spend more time with your 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 small parts to clean with tiny bottle brushes.
Cleaning Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Glass requires special brushes, time, and patience.
Some of the easiest bottles to clean had disposable liners to hold the liquid and only had one or two parts that require cleaning. The Kiinde Squeeze
and the Playtex Nurser
both have liners and a score of 10 for cleaning because you 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 three parts to clean that don't 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.
A seven-month-old boy loves his Lifefactory bottle that includes a grippy silicone sleeve for easy handling and few parts for easy assembly.
Ease of Use
A bottle needs to be easy to use for baby and parents, or it isn't likely to be used very 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
to transfer liquid (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.
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. While stainless steel remains one of our favorite materials for sippy cups
, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine noted in their Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants
(pdf) article that "steel containers were associated with a marked decline in cell count and cell viability when compared to polyethylene and glass
." Also, glass is recyclable, can be used for an extended period, is hard to scratch, and 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. The industry standard for nipples is silicone, which is 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 dislike the bottles with plastic liners and feel they have the lowest eco-heath performance both because they contain 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 bottles that have the least amount of impact on the environment and baby's health. The best for eco-health is the Lifefactory
glass bottle. Lifefactory is primarily glass with a silicone sleeve and nipple. This bottle is environmentally friendly and can act as a sippy cup with a sippy cap in the place of the nipple when baby gets older. We wish we had included the Joovy Boob Glass
glass version in this review 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. 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 top 9 baby bottle contenders used by tiny tested for our Best Baby Bottle showdown.
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 little one. Keep in mind that some experimentation is often required to find the bottle that meets your needs and your baby's. Until you've found the perfect option, 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 for you.