Pros: Heats quickly and evenly, basket makes retrieving baby food jars easy, lightweight and portable.
Cons: No timer, harder to heat taller bottles quickly.
I live in an area with really horrid tap water, so the only way for me to get good quality water is to use the filtered water out of my refrigerator (and of course it comes out ice cold). Thus, I needed a bottle warmer!!!
I went to Target and started shopping for a bottle warmer. There were several different kinds, including a First Years model ($29) that both chills and heats bottles. I really didn't think I needed the chill feature, since I wasn't keeping bottles in the refrigerator, so I opted for a single feature bottle warmer. All of the warmers: Munchkin, First Years, and Avent were all around the same price at $14.95.
I chose the Avent warmer because I was using some Avent bottles, and know that the shape of the bottles is hard to use with some accessories. Naturally, the Avent warmer fits the Avent bottles.
The unit itself is very lightweight and compact. It is about 5 1/2" high and about 4" in diameter. The casing of the unit is a white coated plastic with a silver temperature dial on the front of the unit and a typical on/off switch on the back of the unit. A small-circular orange light next to the temperature dial indicates whether or not the heating element is on. The warmer has a removable blue plastic basket in the water well to help remove small bottles or baby food jars once the water is hot. It also comes with a 4oz bottle/babyfood jar and a feeding spoon.
The warmer has three heat settings. Use the lower settings for heating breastmilk or storage bags, as higher heat can ruin breastmilk or cause bags to burst. The higher heat setting is fine for heating formula or jarred food. Upon turning the unit on, the orange light will come on indicating the heating element is operating. Once the water is at a certain temperature, the heating element (and light)will turn on and off intermittently as it maintains a constant temperature in the water well. NOTE!!!! While the water remains at a constant temperature, the stuff in your bottle WILL NOT. If you leave it in the water, it will continue to get hot, so make sure you take your bottle out of the warmer at the proper time.
Bottles/jars are heated by placing one in the basket and filling the well with water up to the level of whatever you are heating in the bottle/jar. The amount of food you are heating will determine how long you leave the bottle/jar in the warmer. For example, when my baby first came home and ate only two ounces at a time, I could place the bottle in the warmer, turn it on, and the bottle was adequately heated by the time the heating light went off for the first time (about 2 minutes). My daughter eats 6 oz a time now and I have to heat her bottles about 5 minutes now. Keep in mind that heating times will depend on the temperature and amount of your baby's food. This unit does not have a timer, so you will have to keep track of how long something has been in the warmer by other means.
This warmer works well with most bottles I have used. Avent (obviously), Evenflo, Gerber Premium, and Parent's Choice work just fine. However, I did purchase a Munchkin Widemounth Tri-Flo bottle, and it barely fits into the unit. Therefore, I would not recommend this unit for anyone who solely uses the Munchkin Widemouth. I have also noticed that the larger capacity bottles work better if they are shorter, because the water well is wider than it is tall. Taller bottles take longer to heat than short ones.
Every week or so, you should "descale" (clean) the unit with vinegar and water. The directions only recommend descaling once every month, but I find that if you do it once a week it heats up quicker.
The unit is electrically powered and has a three prong plug for safety. But I take this with me anytime I visit a relative or go somewhere that I know will have an outlet I can use. As said earlier, it is very lightweight, making it very portable.
It could be improved by adding a timer mechanism of some sort. I have, on occasion, forgot about the bottle and left it in WAY too long. I ended up just having to make another bottle because the formula was far too hot. So some sort of alarm might be helpful. However, with the very low cost of this item, it may be more cost effective for the manufacturer not to add anything to it. Just set the timer on the microwave or stove.
I believe this item has been wonderful, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. If you have a baby like mine, who won't touch anything room temperature, this could be a very handy item for you as well.