Dr. Brown vs Avent: Which Brand Performs Better?

by Megan Schipsi |

Do you need honest information on Dr. Brown vs Avent bottles, bottle warmers, and sterilizers?

If you have a newborn at home, chances are you have heard of both Dr. Brown and Avent brands. Both are well-known companies that sell bottles and accessories, including warmers and sterilizers. But which brand wins the debate of Dr. Brown vs Avent? While both brands function well and have similar costs, Dr. Brown bottles slightly edge out Avent in overall value and performance.

Image of the Dr. Brown's Original Wide-Neck Bottle, 8 Ounce, 3-Pack

Image of the Philips Avent Anti-colic Baby Bottles Clear, 9oz 3 Piece

Bottles:

Almost every family will be forced to choose a bottle to start out with. With so many brands on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. When it comes to Dr. Brown vs Avent, both are trusted names that millions of families have had success with. LI decided to check out the features and drawbacks of each brand, and you might be surprised at how similar they are!

Dr. Brown:

Image of the Dr. Brown's Original Wide-Neck Bottle Newborn Feeding Set

Features:

Dr. Brown bottles are designed with a vacuum feeding system. This means that baby gets less air in each gulp, leading to less gas and stomach upset. In the Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle Newborn Feeding Set, you will receive five bottles that all use the positive pressure flow system. This way the air is removed from the milk or formula, but the essential vitamins and nutrients remain strong.

All Dr. Brown bottles are free of harmful plastic byproducts, like BPA and lead. They are wonderful options for babies with colic or reflux. The price point on this set is very affordable, with each bottle costing less than a cup of fancy coffee. They are also well made, and long-lasting. I have had some of my Dr. Brown bottles for years and they still look brand new.

Drawbacks:

Not going to sugar coat this one. These bottles are a pain to clean. They require a special brush to get all of the tiny parts clean and residue free. It’s just the price you have to pay for a reduced air-intake experience. As long as you keep track of the tiny brush that is included in each set, you should be good to go. Just remember you will spend a little more time cleaning these than you would the average bottle.

Avent:

Image of the Philips Avent Natural Newborn Baby Bottle Starter Set, SCD296/02

Features:

The Philips Avent Natural Newborn Baby Bottle Starter Kit features 5 natural flow bottles for your little one. These bottles are shaped more like a breast, giving your baby a more instinctual experience. Sometimes a baby can be confused if mom tries to go back and forth between breast and bottle. However, the Avent bottles are well known for not causing nipple confusion. These are great for families that want to do mixed type feedings.

The Avent bottles are all totally dishwasher safe, and they don’t have as many tiny parts to wash as the Dr. Brown bottles do. However, they may not be quite as effective in reducing air intake while feeding.

Drawbacks:

The Avent bottles are quite a bit more expensive than a set of Dr. Browns, so you can expect to pay nearly double for the same amount of bottles. Also, Avent bottles aren’t the best choice for babies with colic, reflex, or gas.

Overall:

Bottles are such an individual choice. One baby may do great with Avent, while the next needs the slower, air free flow of a Dr. Brown bottle. Although the Dr. Brown bottle is a more affordable choice, you might need to try several brands before you find one that works perfectly for your infant.

Image of the Dr. Brown's Options Wide Neck Newborn Feeding Set

Bottle Warmer:

Bottle warmers are one of those funny items that you don’t realize you ever needed until you finally buy one. Warming up milk in the microwave or on the stove can be hazardous. A bottle warmer takes away all of the guesswork by bringing your milk or formula to the perfect temperature on every single try. When it comes to Dr. Brown vs Avent, both brands have similar devices that I compare below.

Dr. Brown:

Features:

The Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer has everything you need to warm both bottles and jars of baby food. It can fit multiple bottle sizes, and practically any glass jar of baby food will slide right in. The one-touch design means you pop the milk in, push the button, and move onto the next task. No need to fiddle with the machine to get the correct setting.

This warmer uses steam heat to bring the bottles of milk or formula up to the perfect temperature for baby. Once you hear the alarm bell ding, it’s time to wipe the bottle down and get ready for a feeding. Although this bottle warmer is less expensive than the agent version, it will still set you back a bit, but the cost is well worth it.

Drawbacks:

Since this warmer uses steam heat, you will need to refill the water compartment often. Also, the steam will cling to the bottles after use. This means you MUST wipe them down before giving them to your baby. If you don’t, hot steam could build up and drip on them, which isn’t safe.

Avent:

Image of the Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer, Premium

Features:

The Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer, Premium works much like the Dr. Brown version above. It uses water to heat the bottle from the outside, which preserves the quality of the milk or formula. Overheating can cause nutrients to break down, so this slow heating is a good choice if you worry about that kind of thing.

This warmer features a few different settings. If your baby prefers different temperatures for milk and food, this warmer is likely a good choice! You can pick one of several settings for each item.

Drawbacks:

Some larger bottles may not fit in this slim warmer. Bottles from this warmer also need to be thoroughly wiped down before giving them to your baby. Also, expect to pay about 25% more for this warmer than the Dr. Brown version. In the end, it may also take longer to heat your bottles, so if you have a baby that demands food NOW, this may not be the best choice for you.

Overall:

While you don’t need a bottle warmer since there are other ways to warm up baby’s bottles, it sure is convenient to have one around. If you do choose to buy one, the Dr. Brown version is probably a better deal. It costs less, works a bit faster, and can accommodate many different sizes of bottles and jars. When it comes down to Dr. Brown vs Avent, Dr. Brown is the winner in this category!

Bottle Sterilizer:

An electric bottle sterilizer is another one of those baby items that you don’t have to have, but it sure makes life easier if you do! Especially if your baby is using bottles exclusively, having an easy way to clean and sterilize will save you hours of hard work.

Dr. Brown:

Features:

The Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer is the cream of the sterilizer crop, especially if you use Dr. Brown bottles. It’s designed to hold the specialized Dr. Brown bottle parts, and keep them upright for air circulation during sterilization. This device will also sterilize small items like pacifiers and teethers. Since each bottle has it’s own place to stand upright at, you can be assured that all the parts are completely sterilized after use.

The sleek design won’t look out of place on your countertop, so no need to hide this away between uses. While this item isn’t exactly cheap, it will cost you a few dollars less than the Avent version, which is another plus for Dr. Brown users.

Drawbacks:

The biggest drawback is that this sterilizer doesn’t dry the bottles after the steam process. So you either have to wait for them to drip dry, or dry them by hand after use. If you have a needy baby, neither option is particularly convenient.

Avent:

Features:

The Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer is very similar to the Dr. Brown version in several ways. Both take about the same time to cycle through, and use steam to sterilize the bottles and accessories. The Avent version is unique in that it has several levels to accommodate different items. It can hold up to six bottles, nipples, small parts, and pacifiers. It can also steam pump parts as well.

Drawbacks:

If you look at the bottom of this sterilizer, you can see that there is an area that can rust pretty easily if milk or water gets on it. The Dr. Brown version has this area covered to prevent rust, but Avent does not. Also, you can expect to pay a few dollars more for the Avent steamer.

Overall:

The Dr. Brown bottle sterilizer is probably a better choice just because it is more affordable and can accommodate taller bottles. However, if you use Avent bottles, the Avent steamers is a solid choice as well.

Bottom Line:

Here’s the thing: you can’t predict what kind of bottles will work out well for your baby. Even if you first three kids loved Dr. Brown’s, your 4th kid might still reject them. And even though every other mom you know uses Avent, your infant might not love that brand. So, before you invest in items like warmers and sterilizers, figure out which bottles work best for your baby. Then go for the high ticket items!

If you are starting from square one, I recommend trying Dr. Brown bottles first. Since they can reduce air intake during feeding, they are probably a better choice for a first try, and they are more affordable too. Once you know which bottles work best for your baby, Dr. Brown vs Avent, then you can choose which other items to buy based on that. Bottom line, get what works best to keep your baby happy and well fed, and everything will work out just fine!

 

Megan Schipsi
Megan is a parent, teacher, and writer from Phoenix, Arizona. When she isn't blogging, Megan can be found hiking the deserts with her child and two old chihuahuas, teaching at a co-op preschool, or working on her master's degree online.

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