We bought and tested SIX different formula dispensers to crown the winner. Which was the easiest to use? To clean? And given the cost of formula, which left the LEAST residue behind? Here are our picks!
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While formula dispensers may seem like a no brainer, our tests revealed some subtle pros and cons.
The point of a formula dispenser: you can pre-measure powdered infant formula into the three or four compartments of a dispenser and throw it in your diaper bag with some water-filled baby bottles (use purified, demineralized, deionized, or distilled water).
When we tested formula dispensers, we were surprised to find they have some very real differences. Here’s what we looked for:
Number of compartments. Most have three compartments, but a couple had four or an additional dispenser for a one bottle serving. If you are out for a long day or have twins, four compartments are better than three.
Ease of use. The lids on all the dispensers we tested were supposed to rotate to direct the spout over each compartment. Some were easier to rotate than others.
Migration of formula. All the dispensers we tested had some migration of formula from one compartment to another. We looked for dispensers that had the LEAST migration.
Easy pour. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Can you get the formula from the dispenser into the baby bottle without banging it around to get the last little bits?
The least amount of formula sticking to the lid or container. If you’re carefully measuring out formula to make a bottle and some of the formula sticks to the sides it can make a difference in nutrition (and your pocketbook). Some formula dispensers were less sticky than others.
• Best pour. This the only dispenser we tested that didn’t require banging on the bottom like a ketchup bottle–a potential recipe for disaster if you bang too hard. Pretty much all the formula came out in one stream; better than any of the others we tested.
• Easy twist. No problem rotating the top to the next compartment.
• Extra single serving bottle included. If you have twins (and need enough formula for two bottles each) or are going out for a short trip and only need enough formula for one bottle, the extra serving is a nice bonus.
• Great price. This dispenser is competitively priced.
• Some migration of formula. While it definitely wasn’t a lot of migration, there was some formula from other compartments that moved around. We don’t think it’s enough to be concerned, however.
• Formula sticking to the side/lid. There was more formula that stuck to the lid of the compartment than we’d like, but again, not so much that it is a concern.
• It cannot be sterilized. Like most formula dispensers, the Munchkin cannot be sterilized or it will melt. Yes, you can wash it in the upper rack of your dishwasher.
What impressed us most about this dispenser: no formula stuck to the sides during our tests. It’s the only one we tested that didn’t stick. Migration of formula did occur with the Dr. Brown’s but it was minimal, so we’ll give it a pass here.
What’s not to like? Many parents we interviewed complained that the lid on Dr. Brown’s was difficult to twist to the next compartment–some even suggested removing the lid and repositioning it although there is a risk of spilling.
In our tests, we didn’t have as hard a time moving the lid as parents we interviewed, but it was somewhat more difficult than the other dispensers we tested.
Overall, though we can recommend this dispenser as a good runner up.
Avent’s formula dispenser looks similar to Dr. Brown’s, but doesn’t rank quite as high in our tests. Why? Migration of formula from one compartment to the others AND on the amount of formula sticking to the sides knocked it down compared to our top pick. However, it still scored third best out of six containers we tested.
We like the taller, slimmer profile (may fit your diaper bag better), although the pour required some banging to get all the formula out. Overall, it’s a decent runner up.
What’s best about this dispenser: it can morph into a snack container for older kiddos by removing the partition!
How we tested
Formula dispensers are basically Tupperware style plastic containers with three or four separate compartments. Parents told us all the things that frustrated them about using formula dispensers and we developed five categories for our testing.
1. Twist test. Does the lid twist easily to the next compared to competitors? You don’t want to develop carpal tunnel syndrome from your formula dispenser.
2. Formula migration. Next, we filled a compartment with formula and replaced the lid. Then we shook the heck out of it to simulate riding around in your diaper bag. After shaking it up, we checked the empty compartments to see how much formula migrated out of the original formula compartment. See example:
3, Pour test. The most important test was the pour test. We tried pouring the formula from each dispenser into a standard baby bottle (not a wide mouth). We noted how much shaking and banging it took to get all the formula out of the dispenser and into the bottle.
4. Sticking. Finally, we looked at how much formula might have stuck to the sides or lid after we poured it into the bottle. Some dispensers had little sticking, while others had a remarkable amount of formula that stuck. Here’s an example of the worst offender from Joovy:
5. Price. While most formula dispensers are priced around a similar point, a few like the Joovy were more pricey. As always, we look to see if there is some justification for a higher price point.
In the end, we weighed the pour factor as the most important, followed by sticking to the lid or sides and migration from one compartment to the other. Surprisingly, only two were impressive in the easy pour test (including our top pick, the Munchkin). Almost all had some formula migration from compartment to compartment and more than half had some sticking to the sides or lid.
FYI: All those we tested are made of BPA-free plastic.
Oxo Tot. While the OXO Tot No-Spill Formula Dispenser with Swivel Lid had only a small amount of formula migration and not much sticking, we were not thrilled with the swivel cap. Most other designs pop off and out of the way, but the OXO swivel cap was not intuitive. The lid didn’t swivel very easily either. Also: the unit we tested had a sticky adhesive residue on the lid from the packaging. Ick.
Nuby.The Nuby Milk Powder Dispenser ranked second in our tests in the easy pour category, but had the most migration of formula from one compartment to the other. It also had problems with sticking. The Nuby was also more expensive than most dispensers. While we liked the four compartments (compared to three with all the others), we can’t recommend this dispenser due its subpar performance and price.
Joovy. The pricey Joovy Formula Dispenser looked the coolest of all our test subjects. Similar in shape to the company’s baby bottles, it has a bright green flip top spout cover that should be easy to spot in your diaper back. But (and you knew there would be a but), there was way too much formula stuck to the sides and lid in our tests. That and the high price make this one a no go.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including baby bottles and formula dispensers, since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.
The best formula dispensers have easy pour spouts, don’t allow formula to stick to the sides and have minimal migration of formula from compartment to compartment. If you have twins, consider dispensers with four compartments or our top pick (Munchkin Powdered Formula Dispenser Combo Pack) with the extra one serving bottle that comes in the combo pack.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.
Here's another key point: we don't take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no "partnerships." Our work is 100% reader-supported!
BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Why trust us
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