Traveling with your child who is still on formula, breast milk, or a combination of the two can be an overwhelming task. Not only do you need to get a diaper bag ready for the day’s events, but you need to consider how long you will be gone to determine how many bottles you may need in terms of feeding and, ultimately, your car bottle warmer.
When traveling, parents have to plan how much breast milk or formula is required (and a plus one is usually a good idea because you don’t want to get caught short).
Things to Consider in a Portable Bottle Warmer
Travel bottle warmers are different from those used at home. The main difference is that most at-home bottle warmers require an electrical outlet, and they aren’t always convenient to transport in a diaper bag, depending on their design.
While there may be access to electrical outlets en route, it is always best to have an alternative. Most portable warmers are more compact, so parents have room for other essential items.
No matter how long you spend in the car, you should select a travel warmer with a fast warm-up. Even though your baby may be on a well-established feed cycle, there may be times they are extra hungry, like when they are in a growth spurt.
Easy to Clean
Look for a bottle warmer with as few components that require cleaning as possible. While on the road, you may be unable to stop and clean the components for a bottle warmer. If there are components that you need to clean, you will need to pack a bottle brush and a small bottle of dish detergent.
Some warmers don’t require people to do much when warming up a bottle. Some simply require hot water to heat formula or breast milk. Others may need batteries, a USB plugin, or an electrical outlet.
Make sure that your bottle warmer can accommodate your bottle size. They are not all made equally, and some may require you to purchase a separate adapter. Some warmers may only fit bottles with a standard mouth and not wide-mouth bottles.
Versatile ones will work best as they can accommodate any bottle. Furthermore, as the baby grows and bottles change, you will not need to spend extra money.
Before buying a portable bottle warmer, examine how long you typically spend in the car and what resources you have available when it comes time to warm up a bottle. You may not necessarily need a warmer with a USB cable, but one that connects to a portable power charger may be more feasible.
You may also want to buy a bottle warmer that grows with your child. Many on the market can handle a small bottle up to a sippy cup and can even heat food. Items with a variety of purposes mean that there is one less thing to pack while traveling.
How Does the Bottle Warm Up?
There are a variety of methods used to warm up a baby bottle. Some warmers require users to use a USB cable to warm the bottle. Others you can attach to a power bank, a plug-and-play, or a cigarette lighter (although these are becoming rare). Some warmers are more of a thermos style.
Warmers that plug into car outlets are great because you can heat the bottle while driving. The downsides are that you might have to pull off to plug it in, and they generally heat bottles more slowly.
Plugging it into a power bank is convenient because you can feed your baby quickly, and it is highly portable, so you have the luxury of feeding your baby anywhere. However, you need to ensure that your power bank is completely charged before taking it on the road or finding one that holds its charge for a long time.
Thermos-style bottles are great and can heat bottles very quickly. They don’t require any plugging in. The downside is that heat escapes each time you open the lid, so it may not hold heat for long periods of time.
Best Portable Car Bottle Warmers
Best Overall: Sopewod Portable Bottle Warmer
With heat-resistant materials, this bottle warmer provides a constant circulating temperature. It prevents the bottle from getting cold and is so safe that the baby can drink the milk while it is heating up. The temperature-sensing chip ensures accurate heating.
- Can heat glass, plastic, and stainless steel
- Can be used for formula and breast milk
- Easy to clean
- USB powered
- Slow to warm milk
- Poor instructions
Tied for First: Nice Papa Portable Bottle Warmer
Nice Papa portable bottle warmer comes with a type c charging port for added stability. It provides a constant temperature and includes an indicator light. The green light turns on when the bottle has reached the ideal temperature for babies. The USB interface allows it to draw power from a battery pack, mobile phones, a car USB port, or a power adapter.
It contains three-layer thermal insulation to maintain temperature. The leather is easy to clean and only requires users to wipe it down.
- Small and compact size
- Easy to carry
- Has a magnetic port
- Takes a while to heat
Best Warmer For a Car: PUNCIA 12V Smart Beast
This portable bottle warmer provides the best temperature for the baby. It is easy to use. All you have to do is place water into the mug. Then, press the plus or minus sign to set the temperature and press power to begin heating. The LCD will provide the actual temperature, so you will know how hot the bottle is before feeding it to your baby.
- Perfect for standard-sized bottles and 70% of large neck bottles
- Can place breast milk storage bags in the warm mug water to warm up
- Smart mug feature will automatically shut off if there is no water or if the voltage isn’t correct
- Just has a cigarette charger
- Temperature shows in Celsius
Best Thermos-Style Bottle Warmer: Kiinde Kozii Voyager
This bottle warmer does not require batteries or electricity to warm up a bottle. All you need to do is pour hot water into an insulated container to heat it. It does double-duty as a baby food warmer, too. Users can warm pouches, breast milk, bottles, and food jars. This warmer contains triple wall insulation, is vacuum insulated, and is made of stainless steel for added durability.
- Fits easily in diaper bags and cup holders
- Free of latex, BPA, and PVC
- May not warm frozen milk well
- May not be ideal when going on long trips with larger bottles
This Tommee Tippee thermal flask is very popular with parents looking to heat bottles on the go. It requires no electricity to warm up a bottle – just hot water. Pour boiling water into the container and fasten the lid.
Put the bottle into the hot water to warm it. Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove it and test it on your wrist before feeding the baby.
- The lid fastens securely to avoid spills and leaks
- Durable construction
- Easy to clean
- Maintains heat well
- Bulky design
Best Grow With Me: AOZBZ Baby Bottle Warmer
With premium-quality materials, this bag is non-toxic and durable. It resists wrinkling and retains its shape very well. This warmer has a convenient charging feature. You can charge it in your charging station, adapter, or car with a USB port. It is safe with automatic protection against overheating.
- Holds two standard-sized bottles or one wide-mouth bottle
- Easy to clean
- Contains an additional pocket for a power bank
- Takes longer to warm up in the car
Best For Breast Milk: Sunsbell Car Baby Bottle Warmer
Compact by design, this warmer travels anywhere and everywhere. This bag has a large capacity to hold two bottles and the thermal bag is equipped with a real-time display screen. The buckle design makes it easy to carry or hang on the stroller. It is compatible with and can be plugged into the car.
- Can fit bottles as well
- Plugs into a power charger
- Material may show signs of wear
- No USB
Best for Formula: Befano Portable Bottle Warmer
This two-in-one portable bottle warmer is divided into storage for formula and the warmer. The dispenser contains BPA-free food-grade plastic and a heater of durable stainless steel. The spill-resistant silicone ring is easy to clean, and it works with most of the popular brand bottles.
A chip allows for precise control of the correct temperature. Antibodies and nutrients are unaffected by the heat from this bottle warmer.
- Large LED display shows the temperature
- Takes 5-10 minutes to prepare
- Fits most bottles
- Power button can be pressed to see how much electricity is left
- May leak
- May not hold a charge
Best for Travel: DynaBliss Travel Bottle Warmer
This bottle warmer is very compact and travels easily. The bottle warmer heats within two minutes and comes with five temperature settings. It comes with a 10,000 mAh rechargeable battery, allowing users to heat six to eight bottles. The USB charging cable means that you can take it anywhere.
- Ceramic heating plate
- Storage case for 120 g of formula
- Some bottles may require an adjuster
- May leak when flipped for removal
What type of bottled water is best to mix with baby formula?
While it is safe to use bottled water while mixing liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula, you need to be aware of the fluoride content. It is advisable to choose one geared towards infants, sometimes called nursery water. For babies under three months, you should sterilize water by boiling it for one minute before mixing it.
Why should parents avoid microwaving baby formula?
It is widely known that microwaving breast milk removes some of the nutrients. While this is not a risk for formula, microwaving a baby’s bottle is not safe. Microwaving a bottle can generate hotspots that may end up scalding a baby’s mouth when they are drinking it. The temperature is difficult to regulate and can range from cold to hot.
Wrapping Things Up
The most common complaint amongst parents when using travel bottle warmers was the time it took to heat. Parents need to plan ahead for when the baby will be hungry. Some warmers have a longer wait time than others.
You can choose to use a thermal bottle warmer that retains heat. However, the warmup times may not be significantly faster. The fastest bottle warmers are ones that connect to a battery pack, but even these take time to heat up.
Some parents choose to take bottle warmers that require electricity with them on the road in hopes that they will be close to an outlet. This, too, takes some planning, and may not be entirely convenient.
The biggest factor in finding a car bottle warmer will be finding one that fits your bottle. Not all warmers fit every bottle on the market. Remember to bring your bottle with you when shopping for a bottle warmer – even if the instructions indicate that they fit. Or make sure you can return it if it ends up not being what you are looking for.
The second most important factor is determining whether you want a thermos-style warmer or one that connects to a power pack or plugs into the car. All these methods have advantages and disadvantages. It is simply a matter of what works best for you and your baby.
Car bottle warmers may not be speedy, but you can make it work with some planning. It is always best to have something on hand when the baby suddenly becomes ravenously hungry. A travel bottle warmer will allow you to take your little one with you wherever you go and is handy when you have older children engaged in multiple activities.
Feeding a baby at home isn’t always possible for busy parents. They need a reliable product that works on the go and fits into their schedules. The car bottle warmer you choose should fit into your lifestyle and be easy to use. And it should always facilitate the joy of bonding with your child.