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Equipment

Do You Need a Baby Food Maker?

Not necessarily. But if you want one, it’s worth investing in the best.
By Published Mar. 29, 2019

New parents are inundated with messages insisting they need a gadget for every aspect of their baby’s life. Well we can tell you one thing for sure: The truth is that you don’t need a baby food maker. But if you want a baby food maker—or any other baby food-related tool or gadget—it’s worth investing in the best.

That’s why the team at America’s Test Kitchen tested popular models of baby food makers, reusable baby food pouches, and baby bottle brushes to determine the best on the market for new parents. Below are the models that passed all of our tests and most impressed our testers.

The Best Baby Food Maker

Baby food makers are hands-off machines designed to make purees. Our Tastings and Testings Team rounded up six of these small appliances and used them to prepare three different purees from our new cookbook, The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook. There were a lot of drawbacks to most of the machines, including the fact that most of them only make small quantities per batch, are a lot of work to use, and are not precise. As a result, we only fully recommend one baby food maker: the Babymoov Duo Meal Station: 6-in-1 Food Maker.

The Best Reusable Baby Food Pouches

If you’re going to make your own baby food or divvy up larger quantities of store-bought purees for a baby’s meals, it’s a smart move to invest in reusable baby pouches. With small spouts and twist-off caps, these lightweight pouches are convenient for babies and young kids to eat on the go. Our Tastings and Testings Team tested six brands of reusable pouches, priced from $0.99 to $13.99 per pouch, that parents can fill with the food of their choice, to serve fresh or freeze for later use. We tested how easy they were to fill, use, and clean, and whether they leaked.

After putting the baby food pouches to use in the test kitchen and at home, an all-around favorite emerged: Baby Brezza Reusable Baby Food Pouches. These plastic pouches were the least expensive, had the widest opening of all the models, and they were easy to keep clean, too.

Bonus Item: The Best Baby Bottle Brush

One thing new parents will be using is a bottle brush. A bottle brush is designed to fit into spaces a standard sponge can't. This cleaning tool—basically a wand with a brush head on one end—fits easily into tall, slim, and narrow-mouth bottles, such as water bottles, coffee carafes, and, of course, baby bottles. Our Tastings and Testings Team gathered five popular, widely available models, all priced $15.00 or less, and put them all through their paces.

One bottle brush stood out as the clear winner: The Quickie Bottle Brush. This brush made for efficient scrubbing, and we loved that we could clean this brush in the dishwasher. And as one tester put it, “It's not just for bottles!” We used this brush to clean a variety of kitchenware, including a stockpot, cocktail shaker, colander, and salad spinner in addition to coffee carafes, proving that this oft-overlooked cleaning tool is an impressively versatile addition to your arsenal.

For more information on equipment for young chefs, check out these articles: