We actually didn’t consider to get a bottle sterilizer. In fact, we went a bit old-school and sterilized using boiling water.
Using this traditional method means we use more water, gas and also time to wait for the water to boil. In short, we use more time, energy and probably money over the long term.
That was the reason we decided to get a bottle sterilizer one month into our daughter’s arrival. From that point on, our life changed. Okay, it changed a bit…not life-changing CHANGE. 🙂
Today, I want to share and compare two models of the bottle sterilizer. One is the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer and the other one is the Bremed BD 3250 Electric Bottle Steam Sterilizer (“oBebe”).
First of all, how much time does the sterilizer save me?
It takes 10-15 minutes to boil the amount of water I need to sterilize four to five milk bottles and the two breast pumps. After that, I need to fish them out carefully using a pair of rubberised tongs. No matter how efficient I can be, it takes 15-20 mins overall to complete the sterilization process and multiply this by 3 times per day, that’s one hour per day spent on sterilizing bottles.
I am quite sure that one hour can be put to better use.
That’s when we started to look into alternatives and our first sterilizer (from oBebe) was able to complete the sterilizing in 5 mins, using less than 100 ml of water. I can’t imagine the amount of savings I was getting, both in terms of time and also water.
With the Philips Avent 3-in-1 sterilizer which we received as a gift, I was also getting similar results but the sterilizing process seems to take a bit longer. It was more like 10 mins per cycle which is still manageable. On its manual, it indicated six minutes for a full sterilization.
Comparing, the savings in time are quite significant and we love getting back our life!
How to use the Sterilizer?
For both models, usage is straightforward.
Fill the area of the heating plate with water and then place all the rinsed bottles, teats and breast pumps into the sterilizer. Both models come with two levels, so you can separate the bottles and smaller items for a better distribution.
After that, just turn on the sterilizer and let it do its job. In 5-10 mins, all your bottles are sterilized and the best part is you can keep them inside until you need to use it.
Which is Better, Philips AVENT or oBebe?
Both products compare strongly against each other, with pros and cons on each side.
oBebe has a shorter sterilizing time of 5 mins versus Philips’ 10 mins. These are actual figures derived from our current usage. oBebe takes this round!
2. Ease of Use
Both models are easy to operate and it is hard to say which one is better. This round is a tie.
The oBebe can accommodate up to four 5 oz bottles and two breast pumps. Philips can take up to six 5-11 oz bottles and two breast pumps and still have a bit of room to spare. However, the size of the Philips AVENT is not significantly bigger compared to oBebe. Another feature which Philips AVENT has is its layout customization. Just like the oBebe, it has two layers. However, the top layer can be removed and the bottom layer can be used independently.
The design of Philips is a clear winner in this category.
Both models are portable but having said that, they are not exactly considered as compact. Expect each of them to fill up about 1/4 to 1/5 of your 28 inch luggage. Especially, the oBebe comes in a round shape that cannot be compressed further and thus it seems bulkier. For luggage packing purpose, we just place all the bottles inside the sterilizer to save space instead of having them packed separately. In terms of height, both models are very similar but the Philips AVENT has a unique feature which allows its top layer to be placed within the bottom layer. This immediately reduces its overall height by one-third, making it convenient for packing and transport in a luggage. In our recent family trip to Sydney, we simply packed the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 into our hand carry luggage, and there was still plenty of room to go around. Major Thumbs-Up for Philips!
The Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Sterilizer costs $43.99 + transport fees if applicable to your region. The oBebe costs £50.64 which is around $68.38 (as of today) + transport fees if necessary. Undoubtedly, Philips takes this round with its friendlier pricing. But we know pricing alone does not conclude everything.
6. Problems Encountered
oBebe comes with a plastic tong for picking up the sterilized bottles. However, we didn’t find it that useful as its grip seems a bit small and not suitable for wider neck bottles. It can hold up to six bottles but that also means no extra space for the breast pumps. We need to do it a second round or at most fit in four bottles + two breast pumps.
As for Philips, the problem we encountered is a water leakage from one corner after the sterilization is complete. It is not excessive leakage but droplets of water will just leak out soaking the cloth I placed underneath it. We think this water droplets came from the steam that condensed on the inner walls of the sterilizer and as it flows down, it tends to go to that particular area. Not a huge issue but we have to clean up a bit after each use or use a thicker cloth underneath.
Both models are very hot after the sterilization, so extra care has to be taken not to be hurt by them. We usually leave them alone for another 5-10 mins before we open it to take any of the bottles out.
7. Care and Maintenance
Both sterilizers use a heating plate to heat up the water. These heating plates can be subjected to lime scaling, especially if the water used contains a lot of metals (i.e. hard water). You can minimize the build-up of lime scale by using purified water. Here is an article on the type of purifier we use. To remove lime scale, pour vinegar over the metal plate area covering it completely and turn on the sterilizer. After a while, the lime scale will come off and you can pour everything away. Do this at least once every fortnight or weekly if your lime scale build up is serious.
After using both models, we are in favor of the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Sterilizer over oBebe. It provides ample space for six bottles + two breast pumps + pacifier. On top of that, we like its layout which is more streamlined and easier to pack and bring around. Being able to keep the top layer within the bottom section (thus reducing its height by one-third) was a surprise discovery and we found that very useful for luggage packing. Price wise, it is also less expensive. The only thing that it loses out to oBebe is its sterilization time, which is 10 mins compared to 5 mins.
👉 Recommendation: Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Sterilizer
For your reference: BREMED BD3250 Electric Steam Sterilizer “oBebe”