A bottle drying rack may not be on your must-buy list if you have a tight budget for your baby gear. But if the idea of a dedicated spot to dry your baby's bottles, rings, nipples, and, later, sippy cup parts, is appealing, it's worth considering the Boon Lawn. At $25, it's pricier than the rest, but the few-dollar difference is worth the versatility, ease of use and longevity.
I reviewed 15 racks and tested five over the course of 14 hours of research and testing, and the Boon Lawn emerged as the clear winner. While it may seem that the more levels and compartments a baby bottle drying rack has the better, it turns out it's simplicity that makes all the difference.
Who Should Buy This
First-time parents and/or those who wants to hand wash their baby's bottles and keep them separate from their own dishes and have the counter space can look to a baby bottle drying rack that's sturdy enough for future kids. Breastfeeding moms using a pump might also appreciate the convenience of a drying rack for the machine's small parts.
Second-time parents who didn't have one to begin with, or who did and had to discard it, will be more likely to skip it, as space only gets tighter with subsequent kids. And, let's face it: Once you've gotten used to putting bottles and toddler utensils in the dishwasher, it's hard to go back.
What Makes A Good Baby Bottle Drying Rack?
This isn't a category that's been looked at in great depth overall. I found only two sources for overall category reviews (as opposed to one-off single product reviews); Neither seemed to be from sources that were rock-solid in the baby-gear realm. But since this isn't a product that has safety repercussions if a poor choice is made, nor is it a big-ticket item, that's really not so surprising.
It's going to be tough to blow a ton of money even if you try. Though it's a relatively low-risk purchase, it's worth finding out what separates a good baby bottle drying rack from a bad baby bottle drying rack.
We decided which racks to advance to the testing phase based on what the existing expert and user reviews said about efficient use of space, ease of cleaning (and draining), how it managed heavier items, and attractiveness.
A good one should accommodate not only bottles, but the smaller accessories. And here's the key: All the items need to be quick and easy to get at when dry. Layered racks may seem like a good idea (and they may take up less space), but removing the top layer to get to whatever is on the bottom will get old fast. A design that lets smaller items dry upright means everything dries faster. The best bottle drying racks drain into a drip tray that you empty or flow directly into your sink. The best ones are designed to this without leaving you to dry up a sopping countertop..
While appearances may not be everything, most people would prefer a rack that does the job yet doesn't look like a monstrosity on the counter.
Be aware: A price is sometimes cheap because of "optional" accessories that in reality are necessary. An example would be a drip tray for a rack with no water chamber. Of course, racks made with phthalates, BPA, or PVC, or ones that are flimsy, are a no-go.
In my research, I found that the baseline cost-of-entry to get a baby bottle drying rack was about $15. Less expensive racks seemed flimsy and sure to break before long. Decent options are available in the $15 to $20 range, with the priciest coming in at $25.
How We Tested
I tested baby bottle drying racks from five different major manufacturers. I washed, then dried, six popular brands of bottles, making sure that we had a variety of sizes and materials, including glass. I also tried drying sippy cups, toddler forks and spoons, even grown-up dishware, to see which racks may have a life after bottle days are done.
Due to the dearth of outside testing, it was imperative to try each of the candidate racks out. Besides, with this kind of a product, it's hard to know how functional it really is by relying on reviews, even pretty unanimous ones. You have to get hands on and see for yourself.
So I gathered bottles of all shapes and sizes, including heavier glass ones, as well as nipples and rings. I even broke out regular dinner plates and a few coffee cups to be able to assess which, if any, would be useful for years to come. I stacked each rack with the same assortment of wet items, trying to get them as full as I could. Then I waited to see how quickly items dried, and how easy it was to grab items out when they did. Here's how it went with the four also-rans. (Details on my top pick are down below.)
The First Years Gumdrop Breeze Drying Rack ($18.60) drains into the sink and spins, which is convenient, and was fairly easy to put together. But I had to get creative to get all my test samples to fit. I had to stack, but then it was hard to reach past the bottles on the lower level to get to the nipples/smaller items. And with heavier glass bottles, it didn't spin as smoothly.
The Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack ($9) also spins and was easy to put together. It has a bottle brush holder and a small footprint. However, it doesn't drain into the sink, though there is a water reservoir. And when full, it's hard to find the particular item you're looking for. Rings and small parts just pile up and take a while to dry, unless you use the lower prongs. But that reduces the overall capacity for bottles.
The Prince Lionheart Deluxe Drying Station ($12) is sturdy and likely to appeal to organized types: Items have specific locations, like slots for toddler forks and spoons. However, when it's full and you try to grab something, other items fall off. It doesn't drain into the sink, yet the reservoir is small. And assembly was a little frustrating, with tiny tabs that were a challenge to click in the right way.
The SkipHop Splash Bottle Drying Rack ($20) comes assembled and with a bottle brush, which is nice. It takes up little space, spins, and has a modern aesthetic. Bottles fit fine, but the bottom trays don't hold much. To look at it, you assume it holds nine bottles. And while it does, very little else will fit then. It doesn't drain into the sink, and the drip tray is very shallow.
I had predicted that the Boon Lawn would be all looks and no game, but I was wrong.
I'm sold on the Boon Lawn because of its unique construct that makes individual items easy to grab without disturbing anything else while not sacrificing capacity. Its simplistic design is pretty ingenious: It holds everything from tiny nipples to dinner plates upright, so it can definitely be used as a regular dishrack later on. And no assembly is needed.
The Boon Lawn is 13.5 inches long by 11 inches wide by 2.5 inches high. It's made of BPA-free, phthalate-free, and PVC-free plastic. It didn't slide around on my granite countertop. While it doesn't drain into the sink, it holds a lot of water, so I had no problems with overflow.
Before I saw the product for myself, I worried all those little "blades of grass" would be impossible to clean. Now, I see that the rack is actually two layers that can be separated and popped into the dishwasher, which I did. It held up fine on the top rack. Still, I do wonder how clean it would get once it's been used for six months. I'd feel OK taking the chance though, as none of the many the product's online reviewers seemed to share this particular concern.
It looks pretty chic, too, especially in the white. It's also available in green. You can buy two accessories to go with it—the Stem and the Twig. The former looks like a funky flower; the latter, a sleek gray stick. These hold nipples, rings, and other small doodads, giving you more room for bigger items on the main rack. At $5 each, you may want to buy one and see if it's really handy, but personally, I'd do without it. I had no trouble accommodating big and little items on the basic rack, and the look of these add-ons takes away from the low-key way the rack blends into your kitchen.
Often, the most expensive baby gear product in a category is not the best bet for most people. Here, though, that actually turned out to be the case. Of course, since this is a low-ticket category overall, we're only talking about $5 or so extra hit to your wallet.
Who Else Likes It?
On Amazon, the Boon Lawn has a score of 4.7 out of 5, with over 235 reviews. Here's what a few customers said:
- "After a year and a half, it's still as good as new, no broken blades, easy to wash, fits all my babies' needs, including bottles, pacifiers, bowls and spoons."
- "It looks fantastic on my counter, important to me since it will be a permanent fixture for a long time, and even holds Dr. Brown's glass bottles, no problem."
- " I can fit 6 bottles, 2 full sets of pumping accessories, several pacifiers AND several other items on it at once. It's also cute."
- "This rack is very versatile and can be customized to everyone's needs. Plus, I can keep it and use when we're out of the baby stage."
The Inspired Home blog tested the Boon Lawn and found that it's easy to clean, holds a heck of a lot, and looks great in the kitchen. The reviewer rated it an 8 out of 10, saying if she had it all over again. she'd still pick the Lawn. The Eco Baby Mama Drama blogger bought a second Lawn to use for all her family's air dry items. And a reviewer at Modern Day Mom noted that the Lawn dries her coffee pot, knives and "even dries my little baby cucumber that my daughter picked from the garden today!"
We considered testing these alternatives from manufacturers, but decided against it. Here are a few reasons why:
- Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack (12.50) Identical to The Lawn, just smaller/holds less. I didn't see any reason to test both, especially since some reviewers noted it too small.
- Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack ($14.50) The high capacity still didn't seem high enough. It touted having "foldable pegs" for storage, but the process of getting it into storage mode appeared tricky.
- Munchkin Deluxe Drying Rack ($9.50) A small capacity and seemed a little flimsy.
- Dr. Brown's Drying Rack ($11) Despite how fervent fans of the Dr. Brown's bottles are, those same loyalists found flaws with the rack, noting that the two-tier construction made it difficult to access items on the lower tier. Plus it's designed to be used with Dr. Brown's bottles, so if you switch brands or transition to sippy cups, this rack may not work.
- Phillips Avent Drying Rack ($16.50) Considering its footprint, its capacity wasn't very high.
- OXO Tot Bottle Drying Rack ($20) Doesn't drain into sink, but also doesn't hold much water. And its appearance might not be aesthetically pleasing to most. But it holds champagne glasses, a random perk.
- Playtex SmartSpace Drying Rack ($18) Not sturdy. Reviewers noted pegs fall out and unit tips.
- Beaba Feeding Bottle Draining Rack ($25) Adorable, but has a small capacity. And it's just not as easy to use with accessories as most others.
- Mommy's Helper Drain Dry Drying Rack ($6) and Prince Lionheart Compact Drying Station ($7) Neither comes with a pan, so you have to put a towel underneath them.
Care, Use, Maintenance, and Repair
The Boon websites says the Lawn should be hand-washed with warm soapy water, but I, like most busy new-parent reviewers, put the product in the dishwasher with no problems. Even though the manufacturer doesn't recommended it, we feel safe safe in saying the Lawn can be cleaned in the dishwasher's top rack and then air dried (don't use the heated dry setting on your machine)..
Occasionally you may want to scrub any nooks and crannies by hand with regular dish soap or vinegar and a small dish brush, but that's about it. Given the price point, if it breaks, it's not worth trying to repair. That won't likely be a problem, though, as some reviewers will still raving about the Lawn a year later.
Unlike other drying racks, the Lawn sets itself apart by being able to be used long past baby's ditching of the sippy. Even though the blades look delicate, they can actually hold dinner dishes, stemware, and coffee cups. So don't toss it up when baby graduates to grownup cups!
Wrapping It Up
I never would have guessed that the quirky entrant akin to a patch of Astroturf would emerge the winner, but its clean appeal won the day. Despite the fact that my kids are older, and we rely solely on our dishwasher for washing and drying, my husband wants to get a Boon Lawn, saying it'd be great to have for those quick things you wash up in the sink. I don't think any new parent would regret paying 25 bucks for it.
- "Amazon Reviews," Amazon.com
- "Review of the Week: Boon Grass and Boon Lawn," TheInspiredHome.org, November 1st, 2013
- "Boon Lawn Review," EcoBabyMamaDrama.com, April 8th, 2012
- "Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack," ModernDayMoms.com, December 31st, 2013
A mom of three, Christina Vercelletto has held staff editorial positions at national parenting publications for the last 15 years, including seven as Babytalk's gear expert.
If you enjoyed this guide, find more at TheNightlight.com.