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Ember mug baby bottle warmer: convenient, but expensive

With everything from thermostats to door locks being smart these days, it was only a matter of time before someone created a smart bottle warming system, too. When I got a pitch for the Ember Baby Bottle System
(available at Ember)

, I knew I had to check it out.

What is the Ember Baby Bottle System?

All the parts of the Baby Bottle System laid out on a blue background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System’s parts are made from BPA-free materials and are food safe.

A smart bottle warmer designed for caregivers who want the busywork taken out of bottle warming, the Ember Baby Bottle System warms milk or formula without having to use the stovetop or the microwave.

The Ember bottle is smart in multiple ways: It features nipple adapters for caregivers using two of the most used bottles in the business, Philips and Dr. Brown, as well as an app for checking battery charge, warming time, and analytics that track feed times and amounts.

The only downside: The Ember costs $400. That’s pricey, but it might be worth the splurge if you’re desperate to make feeding easier.

How to charge the Ember Baby Bottle System

A person plugging in the Ember Baby Bottle System charger on a blue background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System holds two complete heating cycles when fully charged.

The Ember is powered by a puck (or base) that needs to charge. Both the bottle and the thermal dome attach into the puck.

The puck is easy to charge; just plug it into a wall outlet with the Ember plug (no USB on this puppy). A set of six white LED lights in the puck indicates the charge level, with the number of flashing lights showing how much charge is left until the battery is fully operational.

How to clean the Ember Baby Bottle System

A person grabbing a piece of the Ember Baby Bottle System on a pink and blue background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Baby Bottle System can keep milk cool for up to four hours.

Luckily for tired parents, most of the Ember’s parts are dishwasher safe. All the individual pieces of the bottle itself can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher—even the magnetic, thermal piece that makes contact with the puck.

Steam-based sterilizers are also useful for cleaning the bottle pieces, and good old fashioned boiling water works wonders when a dishwasher isn’t available.

The puck is a complex electromagnetic piece of technology, so you’ll need to avoid submerging it in running water completely. Ember recommends using an alcohol wipe, baby wipe, or damp cloth for this piece only.

What we like

It takes the guesswork out of bottle warming

A person holding a smart phone next to the Ember Baby Bottle System on a blue and pink background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System pairs with the Ember Baby app.

The traditional method of warming a bottle on the stovetop is an inexact science, with all kinds of tips and tricks required to estimate if the bottle is warmed and ready or not. The standard advice is to check the milk temperature on your wrist, but sometimes there are hot spots in the bottle that you won’t find using this method.

The Ember system eliminates this guesswork. Once the bottle is placed on the chargeable puck, the downloadable app has a simple user interface that allows communication between the bottle, charger, and your phone via Bluetooth.

In the app, you can see the puck’s current battery charge, heat a bottle with a touch of a button—and note its exact temperature—and track feeding trends such as weight gain and daily/weekly/monthly milk intake.

The Ember evenly heats milk

The Ember Baby Bottle System next to a smart phone on a blue background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System warms milk or formula with the touch of a button.

Using heating tech similar to their self-heating coffee mugs, Ember utilizes a suite of sensors that monitor both milk temperature and volume of your bottle. These sensors make sure that the bottle heats the milk evenly to body temperature, avoiding those aforementioned dreaded hot spots that can burn your baby’s lips or mouth.

This is especially nice at night; no more midnight adventures hunched over a stove top, constantly checking milk temperature on your wrist, questioning your sanity and listening to your little one cry in the next room.

The Ember’s thermal dome, which is included with the system, will also keep cold milk safely cool for up to four hours until needed, with the puck still delivering a body temperature-warmed bottle in less than five minutes.

You can use it on the go

To warm the Ember, simply place a filled bottle on the charged puck, tap the warming button on the app, and wait less than five minutes for a warmed bottle.

Because the system heats itself without an open flame, those five minutes can be spent doing any of the myriad other tasks that come with caring for a baby.

A charged puck gives two full warming cycles, which means you can warm a bottle in the car or at a grandparent’s house.

What we don’t like

It’s expensive

The Ember Baby Bottle System next to a smart phone on a blue background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System costs $400.

At $399.95 retail, this is an absolute splurge. While I loved the Ember, this price is certainly a barrier to entry for most caregivers—especially for something that’s not 100% necessary for feeding a baby.

Although there are no direct alternatives that offer exactly what the Ember does, there are bottle warmers for $20 currently on Amazon.

More tech = more problems

There’s something to be said for the simplicity of using a stove top or another, simpler bottle warmer. Why? Because if your smartphone dies or the Bluetooth function isn’t working, you can’t actually use the Ember.

Whether it’s the latest car or house, with more sophistication comes the potential for more problems, and this remains true for “smart” baby bottle systems.

The bottles are small

Many children grow out of 6-ounce bottles, into 8-ounce bottles, at about six months of age. The Ember only has 6-ounce bottles, which begs the question: What should you do when your little/big one is chugging down 8-ounce bottles? Basically, for one feeding, you would need to heat up both bottles in the same sitting—during every single feed.

You can order more bottles to alleviate this problem on the Ember website, but at almost $90 a pop, that’s not incredibly appealing. Plus, you’re forced to use their brand-specific bottles; you can use Dr. Brown’s or Philips nipples with the system, but this doesn’t allow for a lot of variability—which especially matters for picky babies.

Should you buy the Ember Baby Bottle System?

Maybe, if price is no object

The Ember Baby Bottle System next to a smart phone on a blue and pink background.

Credit:
Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

The Ember Baby Bottle System includes Level 1 nipples for ages 0 months and older.

What this comes down to is the question every caregiver asks when they buy a product: “Will buying this make my life easier?” There’s no question that the Ember makes life easier, but it comes with a hefty price.

If you have plenty of expendable income, and making bottles feels like an emotional and physical inconvenience, the Ember Baby Bottle System is for you. If you respond to any one of those conditions with skepticism, you probably don’t need this product.

Product image of Ember Baby Bottle System

Ember Baby Bottle System

The Ember Baby Bottle System warms milk or formula with the touch of a button and keeps it cool until you need it.

$400 at Ember

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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