There are an astonishing number of baby food makers on the market, each with a variety of appealing features and functions. This quick guide has been prepared to help you decide which baby food maker is best-suited to your needs and those of your little one.
With a baby food maker, you’re in complete control of everything on your child’s menu, plus you can prepare delicious, healthy meals quickly.
If you are thinking about purchasing a baby food maker or processor, you may have already begun the process of comparing different models side by side. Perhaps you’ve already been shopping, and have seen a few of the units on offer at stores and online. Whatever your circumstances, there are lots of different features and benefits to look for as you decide which is the best baby food maker.
We have written this buyer’s guide to provide you with valuable insight concerning the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most popular baby food makers on the market, so that you can jump into the shopping process as well-informed as possible, and ultimately make a decision that you’re happy with.
Types of Baby Food Makers
There are quite a few different types of baby food makers on the market, each with something different to offer. Before choosing the one that’s best for your family, you’ll find it helpful to know the basics about each type. We’ll start with the simplest, least complicated of these and finish up with the one that has the most features to offer.
Basic Hand Grinder / Food Mill
Though we didn’t review any of these, it’s still worth mentioning that basic food mill type baby food makers have been popular for decades. They’re often inexpensive, and they are very easy to use. If you want to make single meals for your baby and want the process to be absolutely silent, then an old-fashioned hand grinder may be the way to go. In any case, it’s something that you might want to add to your kitchen just in case the power goes out and you have no prepared baby food on hand!
Most of these cost a little more than $10, although we’ve seen some cheaper ones for sale. They are ideal for mashing up bits of banana, apple, or apricot, and are nice for prepping soft foods such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas.
If you opt for one of these models, be sure that you select one made with plastic that’s free from BPA and other harmful additives. Most companies are quite conscientious and have gone to great lengths to provide safe products.
Baby Bottle Makers
If you are feeding your child formula, then you know just how time-consuming it can be to prepare one bottle at a time, then get it to the right temperature for your little one to eat safely. Baby bottle makers like the Baby Brezza Formula Pro One Step Food Maker automatically mix warm water with the right amount of powdered formula, delivering a bottle that is ready for your baby to drink. It’s so useful to have one of these, particularly in the middle of the night when the last thing you feel like doing is measuring, mixing, and heating a meal for a hungry baby.
Small Baby Food Makers
Small baby food makers and processers like the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Food Maker let you prep up to a few meals at a time, and they offer the advantage of not taking much space at all in a small, busy kitchen. We really like the Baby Bullet for its cute design, but more importantly, we appreciate its ability to make short work of basic foods so that your baby can eat quickly or so you can store a few meals and move on to the next activity. This particular model (and some others we looked at) comes with useful accessories including date-dial storage containers, each with a cute smiling face like the one on the Baby Bullet.
Cook / Blend Baby Food Makers
If you’re serious about making all your baby’s food at home, then a larger cook and blend type baby food maker is probably just the thing. These take all the guesswork out of the baby food making process, and they eliminate most of the work, too. Recipe booklets, accessories, different steamer baskets, and even smoothie blades come with some of these advanced baby food makers, letting you maximize the number of tasks you can complete with one simple appliance. While these units are larger than the Baby Bullet and others like it, it’s evident that the manufacturers put plenty of thought into their designs. For the most part, these baby food makers tend to offer small footprints and streamlined shapes, so they’re as unobtrusive as possible even when left out on the counter for convenience’s sake
Consider Your Reasons for Wanting a Baby Food Maker and Read Reviews
Before choosing a baby food maker, it’s a good idea to think about what will work best for you and your family, and to take a look at a variety of different options. Consider making a short checklist of desirable features so that side-by-side comparisons are easier.
Some things to consider include:
- Size – Baby food makers come in a variety of sizes. If you plan to make mostly small meals, then a large-capacity baby food maker might be a bit over the top; if you want to make a variety of larger batches of baby food so that you always have meals on hand, then a larger one such as the BEABA Babycook Pro, which lets you make up to 17 servings of baby food per cycle, might be ideal.
- Ability to Cook a Variety of Foods – Like the BEABA Babycook Pro, the NUK Cook-n-Blend baby food maker has the power to process a variety of foods including tougher items such as meat. Both of these models also steam food thoroughly, and they let you incorporate water used for steaming into the finished baby food so that all nutrients remain intact. The Baby Bullet, on the other hand, does not cook food at all – it’s simply a processer that creates tasty purees from raw or pre-cooked foods.
- The Importance of Bottles – If your little one is still on bottles, then a baby food maker that either focuses solely on delivering warm bottles when you need them is sure to be an excellent addition to your kitchen. The Baby Brezza is a good example of how convenience can make a difference; it even lets you work with one hand so you don’t have to put a fussy baby down in order to prep food. And, if you’re a parent with multiple babies or toddlers on bottles, then you’ll appreciate this kind of convenience even more.
- Ability to Perform Different Functions – What if you’re transitioning between bottles and baby food, or you have little ones of different ages? You don’t have to purchase multiple appliances if this is the case, as there are some models that deliver both warm bottles and wonderful homemade baby food. The Conair Cuisinart BFM-1000 is a good example, with a baby bottle warmer and a baby food blending bowl all neatly combined in a single unit with a surprisingly small footprint.
- Dishwasher Safe Components – Most of the baby food makers we reviewed here have at least some dishwasher-safe components. At the same time, it’s important to mention that as long as you cleanup right after prepping baby food, these units are all very easy to hand-wash, taking just a few moments to clean in case you want to make a second batch of a different food.
Once you have narrowed your choices down to just a few options, it’s a good idea to read some reviews to see what others have experienced while making homemade baby food for their little ones. This is sure to pay off, particularly if you read with a critical eye for details. Some tips for reading baby food maker reviews follow:
- Look for reviews that talk about various features on the baby food maker models that you are considering, and don’t give much weight to the ones that simply say that the unit is fantastic or terrible without providing some explanation for the opinion. You want to learn as much as you can before making an investment in a baby food maker.
- Look for baby food maker reviews that break the features down and provide specific information about how they work. You’ll be surprised at the kinds of details you will find when you start reading reviews.
- Recognize that as with all other kinds of kitchen appliances, baby food makers are manufactured in factories where things can and do go wrong. Even the best or highest-priced models might fail straight from the box. Defects are usually covered by warranties, and you shouldn’t let a few scary reviews prevent you from trying the baby food maker that appeals to you most.
Where to Buy a Baby Food Maker
While some brick and mortar stores – especially the ones that offer lots of children’s items or kitchen appliances – sell one or two different baby food makers, these venues don’t usually have a large selection to choose from. You are most likely to find the model you want at a price that appeals to you by shopping online at sites that carry a wide variety of merchandise, i.e. Amazon.
Remember to factor in the unit’s cost, different features, convenience, and of course quality as you make your decision.
All in all, the best baby food maker is the one that meets your budget, is the right size for your needs, and is a good match for your level of involvement in making homemade baby food for your little one. It’s one that will be convenient for you to use and clean, and most importantly, one that will keep you in control of your growing child’s food intake. While it takes a little time to make a selection, it’s a great feeling to know that you’re providing your infant with safe, clean food that’s free of additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.