The best formula dispenser
Parents who feed their baby formula know how difficult it can be to mix up a bottle on the go. If you've bought a large container of your favorite brand, it's not easy to just toss it in your diaper bag and go. That's why a formula dispenser comes in so handy.
These dispensers let you premeasure portions of formula, so when your little one is hungry, you only have to dispense the formula into a bottle and add water to feed your baby. Some dispensers are more elaborate and can warm the bottle to the ideal temperature. If you're looking for a user-friendly dispenser that allows for one-handed pouring, the Oxo Tot Formula Dispenser is for you.
What to know before you buy a formula dispenser
Formula dispensers are available in several styles, so you can find one that suits you and your baby's needs.
- Stackable dispensers consist of three to five containers that stack on top of one another. They have individual lids to prevent spills and a top with a spout for pouring. To feed your child, you remove the spout on top, take off the lid and pour the formula into your bottle. Once your little one is fed, you place the lid back on the container and detach it from the stack, so you can reattach it at the bottom. When feeding time rolls around again, you'll have a fresh dispenser with premeasured formula ready to go on top.
- Compartmentalized dispensers have a single container rather than multiple stackable components. The single dispenser has dividers, though, so you can create multiple formula portions. The lid typically swivels around the compartments for easy pouring.
- Single dispensers usually come as a part of a set of several individual dispensers. They're often compatible with certain bottle brands, so they fit inside an empty bottle to free up space in your diaper bag.
- Automatic dispensers take all the guesswork out of preparing formula. They can measure, mix and heat the formula, saving you time and effort. Some automatic dispensers have a canister you can fill with powder formula, while others use premeasured pods like a Keurig coffee maker.
When choosing a dispenser, consider how many feedings you need it to provide. Those that offer more feedings are generally larger, so they may take up more space in your diaper bag.
Compartmentalized dispensers often have compartments for three portions of formula, while stackable models can provide three to five. If a stackable dispenser is too large for your diaper bag, though, you can also remove one or more of the containers to save space. Automatic formula dispensers vary in size, but be mindful of their footprint, so you know how much countertop space a specific model requires.
You want to trust that a formula dispenser will provide the exact amount of formula you've premeasured for each portion, so you know your little one is getting the nutrients they need. Make sure any dispenser you consider pours the powder cleanly and doesn't leave a bunch behind in the container. If you opt for an automatic model, check that its pumps are accurate.
Formula dispenser features
Dishwasher and microwave safe
Most dispensers are made of food-grade plastic. However, it's always a good idea to check the fine print to ensure that they're free of BPA, a chemical banned by the Food and Drug Administration from baby products because it can have ill effects on children's health.
Some plastics are not microwave or dishwasher safe, though. So if you want to sterilize your dispenser in the microwave or clean it in your dishwasher, check the product description carefully to ensure the plastic can withstand that heat.
When you have to feed your baby in the middle of the night, it helps to have dispensers with lids that are easy to open. The formula should pour from them easily, too. That makes one-handed pouring possible when you're holding your little one. Dispensers with swivel or hinged lids are especially user-friendly.
Look for caps with a spout or funnel, too. That ensures the powder slides out cleanly instead of having to be shaken free.
If you're carrying your formula dispenser in your diaper bag, you want a container that won't spill easily. Dispensers with locking lids twist into place, so they won't come loose when you're on the go. If you opt for a compartmentalized dispenser, make sure the compartments have rotating lids between them to prevent spills within the container.
Manual formula dispensers are travel-friendly, so you can toss them in your diaper bag without worry. Pay attention to the size of the dispenser, though. You don't want it to take up too much space in your bag. Stackable designs are often the most streamlined option. You can also find some dispensers with handles that let you hang them from your stroller.
Formula dispenser cost
Formula dispensers usually cost $4-$300. You'll typically pay $4-$6 for basic compartmentalized dispensers, while stackable, single and larger compartmentalized dispensers go for $6-$15. If you opt for an automatic formula dispenser, though, expect to pay $130-$300.
Formula dispenser FAQ
What type of formula can I use in a formula dispenser?
A. Most formula dispensers are designed for use with powdered formula. You typically can't use premixed varieties in them because they're not large enough and can leak easily.
How long is formula good for in a dispenser?
A. Once you open powdered formula, it usually lasts for a month. Transferring it to another container like a dispenser does carry a contamination risk, though, so it's best to feed it to your child within 24 hours.
Which formula dispenser should I get?
Best of the best formula dispenser
Oxo Tot Formula Dispenser: available at Amazon
Our take: This simple, user-friendly formula dispenser comes from a respected brand and boasts sturdy, durable construction.
What we like: It has three compartments with a lid that swivels between them. The lid lifts open, too, allowing for one-handed pouring. The rounded design prevents formula from getting stuck in tight corners. It's dishwasher safe.
What we dislike: The lid can be difficult to move sometimes.
Best bang for your buck formula dispenser
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Formula Dispensers: available at Amazon
Our take: This set of six basic formula dispensers is ideal for daily use because the individual dispensers fit easily inside a bottle to save space in your bag.
What we like: The dispensers are made of BPA- and phthalate-free plastic. They hold up to nine ounces of formula. They're compatible with both powder and mixed formula. They're microwave safe, too.
What we dislike: Having to carry multiple single portion dispensers requires more room in your diaper bag than a compartmentalized model.
Honorable mention formula dispenser
Munchkin Formula Dispenser: available at Amazon
Our take: This simple dispenser has a smaller spout that fits slim bottles well and allows for slow pouring to avoid a mess.
What we like: It has three compartments with flexible seals to prevent spills. The flip-top design allows for one-handed opening. It boasts an ergonomic design that fits well in hand. It can be washed on the dishwasher's top rack, too.
What we dislike: The pour spout is fairly narrow, so you may need to tap the dispenser to get all the formula out.
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Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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